As DonateLife week kicks off (26 July-2 August), Bundaberg residents are being urged to discuss organ and tissue donation with their families and to register as a donor.
Bundaberg Hospital organ donation specialist nurse co-ordinator Karen Jenner said DonateLife Week 2020 was more important than ever because COVID-19 had significantly impacted the ability to go out into the community and promote organ and tissue donation.
“All our community events and public sign-on desks have been suspended,” she said.
“The public has been naturally focused on pandemic health messaging and other impacts.”
While talking to families donating the organs of their loved one at the end of life may seem to make for a difficult day, for Ms Jenner it’s part of a reality that makes her job worth doing.
“The rewarding part of the job is seeing how families that are in such tragic circumstances know that there is some good coming out of that.”
“Most families report that it does give them some comfort, particularly down the track when they know that their loved one has managed to save many other people’s lives.”
“It really is life changing for a lot of people, because one donor can give multiple organs.”
Organ donation saves lives
Last year there were 548 organ donors in Queensland whose generosity saved nearly 1700 lives.
Those who have been lucky enough to receive the gift of life through donation are calling on people to not only register as an organ donor but let their families know of their wishes.
Having received a kidney a year ago, Bundaberg Real Estate agent Lee Brown shared his story and encouraged people to join the register.
“It changes your life,” Lee said.
“Around a year ago I had a transplant. I was dialysing for around 13 months and was fortunate enough to get a kidney.”
“Every day I’m very grateful to my donor family. I’ve never met them, I don’t know them, but I always send a signal out to the universe to them, and am always very thankful for it.”
“I would encourage everyone to go online and register today, this only takes a few moments and potentially could save many lives.”
Who can sign up as a donor?
Bundaberg Hospital organ donation specialist nurse co-ordinator Karen Jenner said almost everyone can help others through organ and tissue donation and that age is irrelevant.
Who can donate:
- Older Australians with chronic health conditions can be donors.
- People who smoke, drink or have an unhealthy diet can still donate.
- Only a few medical conditions may prevent someone being a donor.
- All major religions support organ and tissue donation for transplantation.
Registering your decision to become an organ and tissue donor only takes a minute online, with a smartphone, tablet or computer at donatelife.gov.au
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