The decision to donate your organs is one that isn’t considered every day; in fact, it’s a decision that isn’t discussed enough. Today is DonateLife Week – a national awareness initiative to encourage Australian families to talk about becoming an organ donor.
About 1,600 Australians are on transplant waiting lists and about 20% of these people will die before they get the chance to receive a transplant.
‘Family discussion and knowledge of donation decisions is vital. The majority of families say that having discussed and knowing the donation decision of their loved one made it much easier to support donation proceeding. Rarely, does a family decline donation if they knew the deceased’s wishes.’
While it is important to talk about things this week, there is one small non-profit working hard all year round to help raise awareness of this vital issue.
Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation was founded by Kim and Allan Turner, parents of young Zaidee, a little girl whose life ended all too early.
Zaidee Turner had just turned seven years old when she died suddenly from a Cerebral Aneurism – a blood vessel had burst in her brain. Prior to her death her family were registered organ and tissue donors so the decision to donate Zaidee’s organs and tissues had already been made. From this precious gift, the lives of six children and one adult were improved, and in some cases, saved.
This was just before Christmas in 2004, and at the time, Zaidee was the only child in Victoria, and only one of six children nationally, to donate their organs. That same year 130,000 other Australians died, but only 218 – that’s less than 0.5% – were organ donors.
The rainbow was chosen as the symbol for the Foundation because it represents hope; after every storm the sun shines again and a rainbow can be seen. Part of their awareness campaign was quite a simple concept – sell rainbow coloured shoelaces to promote the Foundation and the issue of donating organs. For only $2 a pair, the shoelace project has really taken off; and now there are even professional sporting codes and clubs wearing them!
Have a watch of their video here:
“I want to share with others how empowering it is to overcome the unthinkable and think of others when in most cases we don’t at all. How in death you could possibly save many people’s lives without regret,” Zaidee’s father, Allan says.
So, please, this DonateLife Week, have the discussion with your family about your wishes to donate your organs. Once you’ve discussed it together, and if you agree to donating your organs, register with the Australian Organ Donation Register here. Your decision could potentially save lives one day.
This Thank You Thursday, we say a sincere thanks Kim and Allan, and of course Zaidee; through her legacy, lives are being saved and we hope the donor register continues to grow in her memory.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.