Celebrating National Volunteer Week with Keith Eveson
Keith Eveson – DonateLife WA Volunteer Extraordinaire
DonateLife staffer with Keith Eveson at the Ageing Disgracefully Seminar
Keith, who was born in July 1936, stands in all weathers at the various Perth train stations from about 5.40am Tuesdays, Wednesdays and when and where he decides a crowd will be gathered – that includes football matches, charity runs, hockey matches and more.
He travels to Mandurah, Fremantle and Midland and any points in between, to vary his spot and his customers.
Office workers have become accustomed to the silver haired gentleman with the pink DonateLife cap and t-shirt, not to mention his trusty bike with music playing, to entice potential registrants to the Australian Organ Donation Register. Keith doesn’t just hand out the forms, he educates people passing by about the benefits of donation and addresses any misconceptions.
He has trained with DonateLife staff and regularly attends expos with them at schools, non-government organisations’ events and DonateLife Week events, so keeps his knowledge fresh. He often helps with office mail outs as well, sometimes bringing in his wife, Barbara.
Interestingly, unlike most volunteers, Keith is neither an organ recipient nor has he had a family member die and donate. He just wants as many people as possible to be aware of organ and tissue donation and its value to individuals and the community.
He was prompted to take his quest on six years ago, after finding out about a woman who had been visiting schools in the area. At the time she was on the waiting list for a double lung transplant and keen to increase awareness of organ donation.
But she had recently been removed from the transplant list, because she had become too weak, and was looking for someone to help continue her work.
Keith and Barbara went to see her and were impressed by the woman’s attitude.
“She wasn't angry at her plight - waiting to die - as you might expect, she just wanted someone to continue to increase the awareness of organ donation, so that no one would face what she was now facing,” Keith said.
“At first I did exactly as she instructed, delivering leaflets to chemists, doctors’ surgeries, but I quickly realised no-one was taking them, so I decided to set out my own plan of attack, which as you now know, has worked exceedingly well.
“My first task was to hand deliver two leaflets to every house in Kingsley and Woodvale, then I went to the Eagles and Dockers footy matches, Wanneroo Markets, Hillary's Boat harbour and then to the bus and train stations and Perth city streets.”
Keith has been doing this since 2008, mostly alone, and often despite health problems and injuries.
DonateLife is very pleased to say that Keith is a valued member of the DonateLife volunteer team.