This week’s resolution took only a minute to complete but could potentially have the biggest effect of them all. Although you may not know it (I wouldn’t if I hadn’t looked it up) this week is Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week and to contribute I decided it was time to register as an organ donor.
In the past I always refused to tick the organ donor box on my driver’s licence, which was very much an active decision on my part. I honestly believed that consenting to mutilation of my body after death would be the same as allowing it to happen to me in life. I also felt a spiritual need to remain whole. They were silly reasons but I clung to them and argued with anyone who tried to make me believe otherwise.
The older I got, the crazier these notions became, but in 2005 when they removed that box from the QLD driver’s licence forms I was no longer faced with the reminder I needed to act on my change of heart.
When my mother was diagnosed with leukaemia I was continually inspired by the generous act of donating bone marrow. This is considered a somewhat painful procedure so the idea that someone would offer this freely, anonymously and selflessly, without ever knowing who they’re giving it to and whether that person lived or died, is completely mind-blowing. You can only imagine how it feels to know that because of a stranger’s sacrifice you get to keep someone you love so dearly around for longer than they would have been otherwise. How can you even put that kind of thank you into words? And when you have something you no longer need how can you possibly deny another family who are about to lose someone the ultimate gifts of life and time?
According to http://www.donatelife.gov.au/ …
Australia is a world leader in successful organ transplants but a shortage of donors means that around 1700 people are waiting at any one time for a life-saving or life-improving transplant. One organ and tissue donor can save the lives of up to ten people and significantly improve the lives of dozens more, yet Australia has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the developed world.
There are many misconceptions which cause hesitation among people. For starters you can only be considered a donor if you have been declared brain dead. This will be established by two independent specialists through a series of tests. Your body will not be used for research as this requires specific written permission. Marking a checkbox on your driver’s licence does not guarantee you as a potential donor. The Australian Organ Donor Register is the only proper channel to register your decision and even then your family still has the final decision which is why it is also important to make them aware of your choice.
If you live in Australia you can find out more information at http://www.donatelife.gov.au/ and also at http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/public/services/aodr/index.jsp which is where the register is housed. It honestly takes only a minute to fill out and requires very little information. Much less information than it takes to join a social networking site.
Facing your own mortality is difficult, but it’s much, MUCH worse to endure life without someone you love by your side – so I implore you, if you haven’t already, think it over.