More Australians have been challenged to get serious about their support for the Australian Transplant Games by discussing organ donation with their families and encouraging the gift of life through organ and tissue transplantation.
The call came today from the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, at the NSW Parliamentary Launch of the 13th Australian Transplant Games.
"I wish every success to the many donor families, living donors and transplant recipients who will come together to participate in the upcoming Australian Transplant Games," Ms King said.
"All Australians will appreciate how wonderful it is to see these transplant recipients back to health and competing at such a level."
"The Transplant Games are an excellent showcase of the life changing and saving gift of organ donation and something all Australians should be proud of."
"The Australian Government is proud to be the major sponsor of the 13th Australian Transplant Games, which is now well established as a key national awareness raising event."
"Our support for the Transplant Games reflects our steadfast commitment through the national reform agenda to achieve a significant and sustained increase in the number of life-transforming transplants for Australians."
Ms King said the Transplant Games showcases the aim of that commitment - enabling Australians a second chance at life through the generosity of individuals and their families to donate life.
"New research commissioned by the Organ and Tissue Authority shows that while the majority of Australians support organ and tissue donation, 48% of Australians are unaware that few people will die in hospital in the specific circumstances where they are medically suitable for organ donation to proceed," Ms King said.
"Because organ donation is a rare event, to optimise every potential organ donation it is critical that every Australian family discuss and know each other's donation wishes.
"The research also highlights the strong motivation Australians have for being generous. The majority (84%) of people surveyed said that they are more inclined to agree to organ donation upon learning that only a small percentage of people will die in such a way where they can become organ donors."
In 2011, only about 1-2% of the 77,000 deaths in hospitals were in the circumstances where organ donation could be considered. On the other hand, many more people have the potential to become tissue donors.
Ms King said the research demonstrates the need for more Australian families to ask and know each other's donation wishes.
"Family knowledge is a critical part of increasing Australia's consent to donation proceeding which currently sits at 59%, up from 55% in 2010," Ms King said.
"Our research found that 92% of Australians who know their family members' wishes say they would uphold those wishes. It's a conversation families need to have that can one day transform lives.
"The Transplant Games provides a great opportunity to start a conversation about the life-transforming act of organ and tissue donation. Let's get serious. It's a conversation that could one day save lives."
For more information visit the DonateLife website.