Organ donation complex issue
SUSI Daunton’s dream to see her two young grandchildren reach adulthood will only become a reality if more people consider organ donation.
The Stokers Siding grandmother, who was diagnosed with a genetic kidney condition 21 years ago, yesterday urged families to make a conscious effort to discuss organ donation in the hope it would give her a second chance at life.
“The issue of organ donation is a really hard decision for many people to make but the gratitude of getting a donated organ is immeasurable,” she said.
“If I was given a second chance, I would be forever grateful.”
The 65-year-old is among 1700 Australians on the national organ donation waiting list and of those more than two-thirds require kidney transplants.
Despite Ms Daunton being on the recipient waiting list for three years, new figures have shown an increase in donations on the New South Wales North Coast.
Just one year after Donate Life NSW launched a campaign to target organ donation, the number of people from the region who donated organs rose from two to five, helping NSW figures jump by 40 per cent from last year.
Donate Life NSW medical director Dr Jonathan Gillis yesterday visited the Tweed Hospital to congratulate Dr Michael Lindley-Jones and donor nurse specialist Mary Campbell, who were appointed by the organisation to improve education and awareness in the area.
Dr Gillis said their contribution to raising awareness with clinical staff and the community had a positive impact on both notifications of organ donors and organ donations over the past 12 months.
“The role of these staff have helped to educate clinical staff about organ donation and how we can help to fulfil the wishes of people who want to donate their organs during the normal process of end-of-life care and the importance of family support during and after the organ donor process,” he said.
“Our special clinical staff are working with community organisations to provide local public education through presentations and information displays.”
But Dr Gillis said while the figures were encouraging, he acknowledged more needed to be done.
“There’s been a lot of enthusiasm and an increase in figures but there is still a long way to go,” he said.
“It’s a complex issue because people don’t like to talk about death but people need to have the discussion to ensure people know each other’s wishes.”
Dr Lindley-Jones said he and his team were encouraged by the progress in the short amount of time and credited the community for assisting the campaign.
“We have found a very supportive community who want to find out more and help other people as many people now have relatives whose illnesses may lead to the need for transplantation,” he said.
Dr Lindley-Jones said organ donation was a win-win, not only for the organ donor but also for the recipient, as one organ and tissue donor could save the lives of up to 10 people and significantly improve the lives of dozens more.
Until her number is called, Ms Daunton hopes organ donation levels will continue to rise but cautioned this would only happen if people continued to champion the issue.
“Campaigning and awareness is growing which is good to see but the more campaigning we do the more discussions families will have and the more people it will save,” she said.
For information visit www.donatelife.gov.au.