The 10th annual DonateLife Week was launched yesterday, with the Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, urging 100,000 more Australians to sign up as organ and tissue donors.
Dr Gillespie said there were around 13 million Australians aged 16+ who were eligible to register as organ and tissue donors – but haven’t. With people aged 25 and under, those born overseas, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders the least likely to be registered.
“We know most Australians actually support organ and tissue donation, in fact, a recent poll of 60,000 Australians showed 4 out of 5 say they’d be willing to donate their organs when they die,” Minister Gillespie said.
“So, the problem isn’t that Australians are against organ and tissue donation – it’s that they’re not sure if they’re eligible to register, don’t know how to or simply haven’t got around to it.”
Organ and Tissue Authority board member Professor Stephen Lynch officially launched the national campaign in Brisbane with 100+ donor families, transplant recipients and healthcare workers racing around Brisbane in a fun mental and physical obstacle course.
Professor Lynch said the Brisbane race was a great symbol of the organ donation network where the three key factors for success were the courage of the transplant patients, the generosity of donors and their families, and the teamwork shown by the healthcare workers to save lives.
“There are 1800 patients on the waitlist right now and 12,000 on dialysis, and they are all being courageous while they wait for generosity and teamwork to come together and save their life,” Professor Lynch said.
Minister Gillespie encouraged all Australians to take a minute of their time and get online this DonateLife Week to register and tell their family they want to be a donor.
“Any Australian aged 16 and over can sign up online. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your medical history, your lifestyle, what country you’re from or how healthy you are – you can still register as an organ and tissue donor.
“Don’t rule yourself out even if you think you’ve lived an unhealthy life or have suffered illness; let doctors make that decision if the time comes.”
States and Territories around Australia celebrated the launch of DonateLife Week with monuments and hospitals lighting up and launch events taking place in those areas not under lockdown restrictions.
While DonateLife Week officially finishes on Sunday 1 August, the campaign will continue until the end of August with Official Partners, Community Awareness Grant recipients and supporters across the country continuing to host a wide range of awareness raising activities.