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Donate Life Week

Friday, August 10, 2018

This week has been Donate Life Week, which is a lifesaving medical database of people who wish to allow their organs to be used as donor organs after they die.  This week there was been articles and information in the media promoting the system, asking people to sign up as an organ donor.  The Australian Organ Donor Register is seeking your support to help them raise awareness and increase the number of Australians registered to be organ and tissue donors.

Organ and tissue donation involve removing organs and tissue from someone who has died (a donor) and transplanting them into someone who, in many cases, is very ill or dying (a recipient).  Signing up means that you wish to be an organ donor, but it is important to talk to your family, letting them know that your wishes.

I have joined the donor list even though I realise that I would have to be in an Australian hospital to be able to be a donor, as Norfolk Island is too far away from the Australian transplant hospitals.  For residence who live in Norfolk Island, many do not have Australian drivers’ licences, making some of the online links are difficult to complete.  I followed this link to the Australian Donor Page and I was able to sign up using my Australian Medicare card.

The Australian Organ Donor Register link

Each time I renewed my New Zealand Drivers’ Licence, the form had an option to be an organ donor.  I have always ticked the boxes on the Donor List for New Zealand.

I have a friend who has had a transplant, the gift of life.  It can be an anxious time waiting for a donor organ.  The advances in medical systems has saved many lives.  Queensland Medical teams preformed the first triple organ transplant in 2003.

I have read that there are more than 1,400 Australians are currently waitlisted for an organ transplant.  The patient must all complete many medical tests to be able to be on an organ transplant wait list.  This a very difficult time for medical staff and the patient along with their family and friends.  The organs must to compatible and the most suitable precipitants selected by the medical teams.

Just one organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people.  The organs which can be used include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, small intestine, pancreas, tissue that can be transplanted, parts of the eyes, bone, blood veins, tendons, ligaments or skin plus many more as the medical advances continue.

At present I have a family member who is in acute care in Australia and he is completing his assessment for a Lung transplant.  The personal experience of waiting and hoping that there will be donor organ to save his life, is very emotional.

Thank you to all the donors and their families who have helped transform the lives of others through the gift of organ and tissue donation. Your generosity has a profound impact on people who receive a transplant, as well as everyone who cares about them.

"You can’t take it with you. If you can give someone a chance at life, why wouldn’t you give them that opportunity?"

There are many articles available on line to read more about Organ Donor and if you can support this “Give a Gift of Life”, please enrol on the Organ Donor Register List.

Betty Matthews

August 2018

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