Australians are being asked to begin the year by discussing their organ and tissue donation wishes with family and friends and joining the Australian Organ Donor Register.
Federal Minister responsible for organ and tissue donation, Ken Wyatt AM, said almost anyone could become a registered donor, including people aged in their 70s and 80s.
“I’m calling on all Australians to make this a priority for 2018,” Mr Wyatt, who is also Minister for Ageing, said.
“When you’re together with family, discuss your organ and tissue donation wishes with them, then go online and join the Australian Organ Donor Register.
“Instant online registration takes only a minute but can make a lifetime of difference to up to 10 people. This is surely one of the most amazing gifts that anyone can give this year.”
Just months ago, Western Australian mother Fiona Drabble didn’t know whether she would survive to see 2018, as she battled cystic fibrosis and was on oxygen 24 hours a day.
“She and her husband had to sell their business and were facing a bleak future,” Minister Wyatt said.
“However, thanks to a generous donor and a double lung transplant, Fiona is now back working part time, can enjoy her family, and takes the greatest pleasure in being able to pick up and hug her four-year-old son, which she had been too weak to do before.”
Minister Wyatt said it was time to bust the myths that people could be too old, too young or not healthy enough to become donors.
“While age and medical history are considered, no-one should assume they’re unsuitable to give the gift of life,” he said.
“Many people in their 70s and 80s have saved the lives of others through organ and tissue donation.”
Minister Wyatt said it was rare for a family to decline the opportunity of a relative becoming an organ donor when their loved one was a registered donor and had discussed their commitment with family members.
“Registration counts, with nine in 10 Australian families agreeing to allow organ donation where their loved one is a registered donor,” the Minister said.
“Organ donation is a precious gift that is still too rare. Many people don’t realise that only around two per cent of deaths in hospitals occur in the specific circumstances where organ donation can be considered. That was only around 1200 cases last year.”
For instant online registration, enter “donatelife” into your web search engine, which will direct you straight to https://register/donatelife.gov.au.