Generous Victorians continue to give the gift of life

Victorians have been revealed as some of the most generous residents in the country, after figures released today show the highest ever number of deceased Victorian organ donors in 2015.

126 Victorians donated their organs after death in 2015, compared to 117 Victorians in 2014, an 8 per cent increase on the previous year. These generous donors gave 406 organs for transplantation, helping transform the lives of people on the waiting list.

Victoria’s record breaking year was also mirrored nationally, with 435 Australians becoming an organ donor in 2015, allowing 1,483 organs to be transplanted.

Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, paid tribute to each of the Victorian donors and their families who made the gracious decision to help others.

“I thank each and every one of the 126 Victorian organ donors and their families who gave the incredible gift that can help change the lives of up to 10 people,” Minister Hennessy said.

“Organ and tissue donation can mean the difference between life and death, being healthy and sick, or between seeing and being blind.

“I would encourage everyone to register to be an organ and tissue donor and to have this really important conversation with your loved ones so they know your desire to help others.”

Victorian State Medical Director, Dr Rohit D’Costa is reminding the community that there is still much more that needs to be done to ensure we can provide more life-saving transplants to very sick Australians.

“We continue to be humbled by the generous gift of donation and the families who support their loved one’s decision during a tragic time,” Dr D’Costa said.

“Each organ and tissue donation is an incredible gift and we work hard to provide families with the right information and support to make an informed decision about organ and tissue donation. We find that when families know the wishes of their loved one this makes the decision much easier and can provide comfort in a time of immense loss,” Dr D’Costa said.

One person who experienced the trauma of losing a loved one suddenly is Jane Bolle. Jane says donating her Aunt Cheryl’s organs was something she had no doubts about. While discussing death can be confronting, it is vital that your family knows your donation decision if circumstances exist that would allow for organ and tissue donation.

“Chez and I had discussed her wish to donate when we were both happy and healthy and it was comforting to have clarity about her decision to share with the family when the worst occurred,” Ms Bolle said.

For Ante Kelic, life has changed significantly 12 months after his liver transplant. He became a father for the first time and cherishes the opportunity to correspond with his donor family via DonateLife and the hospital transplant units.

“It has been wonderful to write letters to my donor family, though it’s hard to put in to words just how much this gift of a new liver means,” Mr Kelic said.

“Without my anonymous donor, I don’t know whether I’d be here talking to you today. Thankful will never be an adequate way to describe how I feel about my transplant or my donor,” added Mr Kelic.

Victoria’s highest organ donor figures on record speak not only to the state’s spirit of giving and heightened donation awareness, but also the dedication of the DonateLife network and health professionals, in particular at major transplant hospitals; The Alfred, Royal Melbourne, Austin and Monash. These four centres handled two-thirds of deceased donations in 2015. Collectively, regional Victorian hospitals contributed the most donation cases than ever before last year.

“Victoria’s 2015 results see us rise from 20 donors per million population (dpmp) in 2014 to 21.2 dpmp (a six per cent increase). This demonstrates Victoria is on track to reach the 25 dpmp target by 2018,” Dr D’Costa said.

For full breakdown of the 2015 donation figures, visit www.donatelife.gov.au/national-performance-data

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