Students write next chapter in life-saving story

  • Inaugural WA Writing for Life competition for secondary students
  • Push to lift organ donation rate as Australia slips to 22 in world ranking

Western Australian high school students are the latest focus in the quest to lift Australia’s low organ donation rates.

Marking the start of DonateLife Week 2016, Health Minister John Day launched the inaugural WA Writing for Life competition for secondary students.

“This is an opportunity for WA teenagers to explore a sensitive subject that has life-saving consequences,” he said.

“In 300 words, we are asking them to put themselves in the position of someone touched by organ and tissue donation. With Australia’s organ donor rate slipping to 22 in the world ranking, caring young people have a crucial role to play in increasing future donations and saving lives.”

Education Minister Peter Collier said all secondary schools in the State had been sent details of the competition, with online kits available through the Writing for Life WA website.

“Entrants are being asked to make every word count and create an emotional impact,” he said.

“Students will be awarded for their imagination, while gaining an insight into how it feels to be waiting for a transplant or having to make the decision to donate their loved one’s organs.”

Today at Servite College, Mr Day joined Anthony “AJ” Myers, a Year 10 student who has received two donor livers, and Greg Scroop, whose son Lachy’s organs helped saved the lives of three people earlier this year.

“With 42 donors in WA last year and up to 1500 on the waiting list across the nation, we need everyone to understand how important this is,” Mr Day said.

“AJ and Greg are both brave and committed people with personal experiences that will hopefully inspire others to become part of our broader organ donation story.”

The competition is open until 29 August, with prizes awarded in September.

Fact File

  • One donor can save up to eight people and improve the life of around 30 others
  • When families learn their loved one was listed on the Australian Organ Donor Register, more than 90% will carry out their wishes and donate to desperately ill people.
  • Average waiting time for a liver transplant in WA is 6 months
  • Average waiting time for a first kidney transplant is two years but can take up to four
  • To register for donation, go to http://donatelife.gov.au/ or call 1800 777 203
  • For competition details see http://donatelife.gov.au/writing-life/wa
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