Become an organ donor, save seven lives

2015-06-10 06:00

ONE person can save at least seven lives.

The Organ Donor Found (ODF) in South Africa continues to appeal to the public to become organ donors so that their lives, once they have died, can help save others who are in desperate need of transplants.

Earlier this year, the Sharks rugby team launched their campaign called “Sharks Forever Fans”, which encouraged supporters and the public to become donors.

“KZN is currently third on the list of other provinces, but has a similar population to Gauteng, so is doing poorly in terms of registrations,” said Samantha Nicholls, ODF executive director.

Organ donation is not one that is often publicised, even though there are about 4 300 South African adults and children in waiting for transplants of various kinds.

“Fewer than 600 transplants are performed each year. There is a desperate need for more donors,” she said.

One person can donate their heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and lungs. People can also donate their tissues and save at least 50 lives with the donation of their corneas, skin, bone and heart valves. Any person who is in good health can register as an organ donor.

“We encourage everyone to sign up as an organ­ donor. No tests are done now while you are alive. Medical professionals will determine which organs and/or tissues can be utilised at the time of your death,” said Nicholls.

There is even the opportunity to select which organs they want to donate. There is no cost or delay with the funeral and people can change their mind at any time. One of the most recent Pietermaritzburg organ­ donors is Sian Britz.

“I decided to become an organ donor because this means should anything happen to me one day, my death can help up to seven people live a longer healthier life. The loss to my family can bring hope to another.”

Britz said that she would encourage others to become organ donors because they have the ability to help others.

“Becoming an organ donor comes at no cost to you. It took two minutes out of my day to sign up and it left me with a lifelong feeling of hope.”

She said that within a few weeks, she received her donor card and stickers to place on her ID document, drivers licence and medical aid card.

“I also let me family know that I have registered­ so if anything happens to me they can honour my wishes to donate,” said Britz.

Visit the Organ Donor Foundation’s website or their Facebook page Organ Donor Foundation of SA or call toll free on 0800 22 66 11 for more information or to register.

“It’s extremely important to discuss the decision with your family as they will need to convey your wish and give consent at the time of your death.”

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