As DonateLife Week draws to a close, organ recipients and medical stakeholders have called for more people to sign up as donors.
Health Minister Sarah Courtney, however, commended Tasmania – a state where 48 per cent of the population has registered to donate their organs after passing.
She said the week was a good opportunity for those that are hesitant about signing up to donate their organs to see and hear the literal life-changing stories of those who have received organ donations.
This includes Aaron Worker, who’s 16 months out from receiving a new heart.
Mr Worker was battling leukemia and a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy.
He said since receiving the heart, he’s received a new lease on life, cycling 20kms a day and alleviating his dependency.
“I don’t feel like a burden anymore, everyone had to do things for me … I can do everything I should be able to do,” Mr Worker said.
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DonateLife specialist nursing coordinator Grace Southwell said DonateLife Week highlighted the importance of encouraging more people to sign up at donatelife.gov.au.
“There are many people that are heavily dependent on dialysis that can wait for many years for a kidney transplant,” Ms Southwell said.
“They’re the sorts of people we encourage people have in the back of their minds when they’re considering whether to join the Australian Organ Donor Register.”
As someone who works with donor families closely during the process, Ms Southwell said it was really heartwarming to know about the life-changing stories donating can yield.
“It’s so nice to see Aaron here, 16 months on doing so well. It’s nice for other donor families to be able to hear stories like Aaron’s and know that their loved one that’s passed has made a difference to someone else,” she said.
Both Ms Courtney and Ms Southwell encouraged families to discuss their organ donation plans with their family to ensure they’re informed of the decision.
Ms Courtney said in 2019, organ donations saved the lives of 54 Tasmanians.