Queensland students inspired to Write for Life
What if your words had the power to save lives? This is the challenge facing young writers across Queensland who aim to open minds and save lives in an ambitious young writer's project kicked off this year by DonateLife Queensland.
Queensland high school students are being asked to "step into the minds" of someone who is waiting and wishing for a second chance at life – just like some 1700 Australians now listed on the organ transplant waiting list.
"The Writing For Life Competition was created to give a voice to vulnerable Queenslanders who need our help," said DonateLife Queensland Donor Coordinator (schools specialist) Angela McInnes.
"We hope young teenagers will be inspired to help us make a difference. We hope their creativity and passion will raise the level of conscious thinking about organ and tissue donation. Who knows, it could be them or someone they love who needs a transplant in the future?"
As well as vying for more than $2000 in prizes, finalists will be read and judged by author, playwright and co-creator of the OffSpring television comedy drama Debra Oswald. The overall state winning entry will be read out at the Brisbane Writer's Festival.
The award-winning playwright Oswald was an inspired choice to become guest judge. She recently authored her first adult book, 'Useful', in which her main character embarks on a humourous quest to become an altruistic organ donor after a failed suicide attempt.
“One of the satisfying things about writing my novel Useful was doing the research – finding out about the organ donation process and imagining my way into the experiences of donors, recipients and medical staff, as best I could," Ms Oswald said.
"There’s something very powerful and moving about someone donating a part of their body to a person who needs it, whatever the circumstances. It brings up questions about the deepest kind of human connection, about fear, generosity and resilience.
"I’m really looking forward to seeing what the students produce and how they handle this emotional topic."
Student entries are beginning to arrive at the DonateLife Queensland office ahead of the 8 August deadline. Teachers and students are being reminded this week to finalise their entries.
Mrs McInnes said simply getting schools, students, teachers and their families talking, thinking and writing about organ donation really could help save lives.
"Our surveys consistently show Queenslanders have a strong moral belief in organ donation," she said. "Unfortunately, half of us do not know their loved ones' wishes and ultimately that has a real impact on our donor consent rate."
The Writing for Life Young Writer's Microfiction Competition closes on Saturday 8 August during DonateLife Week. Go to www.donatelife.gov.au/writing-life for entry details.
Prize packs will be awarded for the best regional entries, including e-readers and book vouchers. Mantra Sierra Grand has generously donated family accommodation prizes at their prestigious Gold Coast resorts.
Organ donation is a rare event, with less than 1 in a 100 people dying in a way that makes organ donation medically possible.
For more information about registering to become an organ and tissue donor, go to donatelife.gov.au or ask at your local Medicare Service Centre (1800 777 203).
Media contact: Shelley-Lee Waller or Kate Stodart (07) 3176 1909 or mobile 0419 498 710