Queensland generosity gives hope to 'end the wait'
An extra 37 families received the ‘gift of life’ so far this year in what DonateLife Queensland hope are encouraging signs of improved consent rates for organ and tissue donation across the state.
By June 30 this year, 138 people had received life-saving transplants through the generosity of 49 Queenslanders and their families, who agreed to save lives after death.
This compared to 101 transplants and 33 donors at the same time last year – an increase of 48.5% in the number of deceased organ donors in Queensland, said DonateLife Queensland State Manager Tina Coco.
“Donation figures are historically volatile, so we are always cautious about placing too much emphasis on them,” said Ms Coco.
“Every one of these figures mean so much more. Each represents a life lived, a life lost and life passed on to ease the suffering of hundreds of Queensland families who wait for life-saving organ transplants.”
Queensland’s donor figures were released today at the statewide launch of DonateLife Week 2016 at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, alongside some inspiring champions for organ and tissue donation.
This year’s public campaign: What Are You Waiting For? is designed to end the wait by registering and sharing donation decisions online.
Ms Coco said while most Queenslanders are willing to donate (70%), and most would accept a life-saving transplant (73%), just over a quarter (26.6%) of Queenslanders aged over 16 are on the Australian Organ Donor Register.
“Less than half of all Queenslanders are aware the donor register exists and few people know if their partner or family has registered a donation decision,” she said.
“Registering is important because it leaves your family in no doubt of your wishes to save lives as an organ and tissue donor.”
In Australia last year, families proceeded with donation in nine out of ten cases when the deceased was a registered donor. This compared to just five out of ten in cases where the potential donor was not registered and family had no prior knowledge of their wishes.
Ms Coco said DonateLife had moved to improve access for busy families this year, with new ways to register online now available at donatelife.gov.au
One Queenslander who is keenly supporting this week’s campaign waited over two years for his precious gift of a new liver and a new life.
Like many potential transplant recipients John Weiland and his young family were forced to leave friends and family support behind to move within driving distance of his transplant hospital to await the call.
“I left a job and my support network in Hervey Bay behind. It’s hard to describe the emotional rollercoaster you experience in that time,” he said.
“Imagine everything you ever hoped for and dreamed about for your family just being placed on hold, and not even knowing if that would ever change.”
“You cannot believe how grateful I feel towards the family who made a choice that gave my life back. I was able take my kids to the park today for the first time since the transplant. It’s the little things like that I’ve been waiting for.”
Last DonateLife Week, John posted this picture of his daughter Addy on Facebook while he was still waiting for ‘the call’. This year, he can’t wait to get online again to help #endthewait for some 1500 Australians who still need a life-changing organ transplant.
During DonateLife Week, we urge all Queenslanders to help end the wait and join the Australian Organ Donor Register online to save lives, and to share their decision with their loved ones.
Share your donation decision on social media, using #endthewait #donatelife.
Visit donatelife.gov.au today to register online.
To access ‘DonateLife Week - What are you waiting for?’ campaign materials, visit http://www.donatelife.gov.au/donatelife-week-2016-media