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The Great Registration Race is on for Organ Donors

organ donors
Renal Transplant Nurse Lindsay Druce, Organ Donation Specialist Nurse Karen Jenner, Mayor Jack Dempsey and Intensive Care Nurse Catherine Wangmann

This year, the great registration race is on with the Australian Organ Donor register hoping to see 100,000 new registrations as part of DonateLife Week.

At any one time in Australia there are 1800 people on the waitlist for an Organ Transplant and 12,000 people currently on kidney dialysis.

While there are many unknowns about organ donation, Bundaberg’s Organ Donation Specialist Nurse Karen Jenner said it is important that the community was aware of the positive impact that being an organ donor can have.

“One organ donor can save up to seven, eight or even nine lives,” Ms Jenner said.

“At the moment in Queensland there is about 28% of people on the register which is a number we would like to see increase.

“This year’s campaign, the great registration race hopes to see another 100,000 people sign up to join the Australian Organ Donor Register.”

People may not be aware that it is extremely rare event to be an organ donor as Karen said there were specific circumstances around when organs could be donated.

“A lot of people don’t realise that organ donation is an extremely rare event as to be an organ donor you have to have passed away in ICU on a ventilator to be able to be an organ donor,” Ms Jenner said.

“Organ donation is life giving and we can see that through many of the transplant recipients from Bundaberg.”

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey today signed the register to become an organ donor and urges the Bundaberg community to get behind the initiative to support their loved ones and families in need.

“Today I signed the register to become a donor and I ask families to sit down and think about doing the same, with the percentage in Queensland still significantly low,” Mayor Dempsey said.

“The question is quite simple, if you had a loved one that needed a donation, you would hope there would be a donation there?

“I ask everyone to take the time and register but also go and speak to family and loved ones and have a good conversation because if that loved one needed a donation, you would hope there would be a donation, otherwise how would you explain that there wasn’t a donation there?”

DonateLife Week, which officially kicks off on Sunday 25 July, is one that hits close to home for many Bundaberg community members, both receiving and giving organs.

organ donors
Mayor Jack Dempsey with heart recipient Geoff Kirkman

Bundaberg resident Geoff Kirkman said that while he was fit and healthy, he ended up undergoing a heart transplant and encouraged people to get on the register to help those in need.

“Most of the organ donations are from mature aged people, but I urge younger people to donate as we were all there once upon a time,” Mr Kirkman said.

“I lost 60% of my heart and it took me 12 years to get to a stage that they call getting ready for your heart transplant which I did for the last three years.”

Lynnette Jarvis was on the other side of the donation process, with her son passing away 33 years ago and the question being asked whether they would like to donate.

“We didn’t know anything about organ donation, but I am now ever so grateful that the doctor had the courage to ask us,” Ms Jarvis said.

“I would suggest anyone who doesn’t know anything about it or whether they could do this, just sit for one minute with your eyes closed an imagine you are by the side of a family member waiting for a donor or organ of some kind, knowing that if you get that organ your family member will be with you longer.”

You can sign up to be on the Australian Organ Donor Register here.

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