Corporate Australia joins effort urging Australians to have the chat that saves lives – DonateLife Week
Friday 14 February 2014
CORPORATE AUSTRALIA JOINS EFFORT URGING AUSTRALIANS TO HAVE THE CHAT THAT SAVES LIVES – DONATELIFE WEEK
Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash today welcomed corporate Australia’s support to urge all Australians to discuss organ and tissue donation with their loved ones.
Speaking at the national launch of DonateLife Week, Minister Nash introduced the DonateLife Corporate Partnership Program championed by inaugural partners the ANZ Bank, BUPA, Australia Post, Linfox and the Australian Automobile Association.
“With a joint workforce of nearly 75,000 and further reach through their customer base, these businesses are making a significant contribution through employee and customer education on the importance of decision making and family discussion,” Minister Nash said.
“These businesses represent some of Australia’s largest and most recognisable brands. I thank them for their support and we call on all Australian businesses to help contribute to this great initiative.”
The importance of family discussion was highlighted at the launch by 23-year-old Rory Thomas, whose mother Julie Hart tragically died last year and became a multi-organ donor.
“Mum always told us that she had been a supporter of organ donation, and we also knew that she would have loved to leave this world doing what she had always done living; helping people. Mum was able to give 8 people either the gift of life or the gift of health,” Rory Thomas said.
With 1,500 Australians on transplant waiting lists at any one time, 22-year-old Amanda Hill shared her remarkable journey through sudden illness and certain death without a heart transplant, “My thoughts and well wishes are with all the people and families still awaiting their gift. My deepest thanks go to my donor and family. Thank you will never be enough.”
Opportunities for organ donation are rare with only around 1% of deaths in hospitals occurring in the specific circumstances where organ donation is possible. Many more have the potential to become tissue donors.
Minister Nash said, “During DonateLife Week, I encourage every Australian family to have the chat and know each other’s donation decision. It is a conversation that does save lives.”
Led by the Organ and Tissue Authority, DonateLife Week (Sunday 23 February – Sunday 2 March) is the national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation. ‘Have the chat’ events will take place in workplaces and communities across Australia, providing a dedicated time for Australians to learn and talk about organ and tissue donation.
Minister Nash acknowledged the strong progress made after four years of implementing the national reform programme since the DonateLife Network was set up in 2009.
"In 2013, 1,122 Australians received a second chance at life because of the generosity of 391 organ donors and their families. The families of organ and tissue donors are to be thanked and commended for upholding the decision of their loved one and giving others the gift of life."
Australia has achieved solid growth in donation rates, with 2013 representing a 58% increase over 2009 data, when the DonateLife Network was established. The number of transplant recipients has increased by 39% since 2009.
For more information about DonateLife Week 2014, including the DonateLife Corporate Partnership Program, visit www.donatelife.gov.au