Those healthy organs that keep you functioning, breathing fresh air each day, pumping blood through your body, can be used to save the lives of seven others after you die.
What a legacy to leave; what a difference to make, right?
By donating your organs (one heart, two lungs, two kidneys, one liver and one pancreas) you can give seven people a new lease of life.
In South Africa, less than 0.2 per cent of the population are registered organ donors.
Compared to 37 per cent of the US population and 24 per cent of people in Australia, South Africa has a far way to go when it comes to saving others’ lives by providing them with healthy and vital organs.
This August, the Organ Donor Foundation (ODF) is hoping to reach its target of 50 000 sign-ups from the public.
With more than 4 000 people in South Africa currently awaiting an organ transplant operation, the ODF faces a critical shortage of healthy organs which can be used to save lives. With less than 600 transplants performed each year, many adults and children die while waiting for a life-saving operation.
It costs nothing to register as an organ donor and it’s a simple procedure: go to the Organ Donor Foundation website at odf.org.za or call 0800 22 66 11 toll-free.
You’ll receive an information pack in the post with an educational leaflet, and an organ donor card and stickers for your ID and driver’s licence. Most importantly, it’s imperative you discuss your decision with your family, as they’d need to give consent at the time of your death. Beyond registering as an organ donor, you can also encourage family members, friends, work colleagues and everyone you know to become organ donors. You can visit the ODF’s website, where you can fill in seven friends’ or family members’ e-mail addresses. The ODF will then invite them to become organ donors on your behalf. Events taking place around South Africa: 1. Organ Donor Tribute Service, Johannesburg: This service pays tribute to organ donors, and their families who’ve made the “Gift of Life” possible by donating their loved ones’ organs. The Johannesburg Tribute Day will be held on Wednesday 21 August at Fourways Memorial Park at 10.30 am. 2. Awareness Drives: The ODF has also arranged a number of awareness drives throughout the month including a one-day radiothon, and awareness stands at shopping centres, companies and other institutions. 3. Sign-Up:
You can also sign up as an organ donor at the Cape Homemakers Expo between Thursday 29 August and Sunday 1 September at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The 2013 World Transplant Summer Games took place from 28 July to 4 August. The biggest organ donor awareness event in the world, it saw 1 800 participants from 50 countries competing across all age groups.
The Games, a massive line-up of sports events, is a celebration of the human spirit, giving individuals with previously life-threatening illnesses the chance to compete in a high-level sports event, and prove they can not only lead normal, fulfilling lives, but push the boundaries of their physical endurance. For further information go to wtg2013.com.
Source: Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa