It’s understandable that some people are hesitant about the idea of organ and tissue donation. The thought of having your body harvested for parts once you die is definitely unsettling.
But when it really comes down to it, organ donation isn’t about death. It’s about giving life.
Jennifer was diagnosed in 2004 with a rare breathing condition that only allowed her the use of 20 per cent of her lungs. Doctors told her she needed a double lung transplant—a scary prospect for a mother of two teenagers.
After years of waiting, Jennifer finally received word that she would be getting a new set of lungs. The transplant—quite literally—came as a breath of fresh air to Jennifer, who fully recognises the “precious gift” given to her.
“I think about my donor and their family every day,” says Jennifer. “The decision they made gave me a gift of life that I will cherish forever.”
Tara shares a similar appreciation for her donor, who enabled her to literally see the beauty of life again by providing her with the cornea transplant she desperately needed.
“I have no idea who my donor is, and I will never be able to find the words to express how grateful I am,” she says. “I owe them my life. Thank You . . . you have given me my life back.”
Organ and tissue donations don’t just benefit the recipients. They also bring a touch of healing to the families suffering through the loss of a loved one.
Four-year-old Henry needed a lung transplant to save his life. However, his body had already deteriorated to the point where he wouldn’t survive the operation.
It’s hard to fathom the grief and the courage of Henry’s parents, who chose to not let their baby boy die in vain.
“There is nothing more horrific, no greater torture, than for a parent to hold their child as he dies,” says Henry’s mother Sarah. “The knowledge that Henry’s death has resulted in a better life for others brings a sense of comfort and strength.”
According to the Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority, a single donor has the potential to transform the lives of more than 10 people.1 Last year, a record number of 503 deceased Australians gave 1447 individuals (also a national record) the opportunity of a better life. You can read about some of these stories by checking out the DonateLife Book of Life.
Our story doesn’t have to end with our last breath. Will you choose to give life, even in death?
Visit www.donatelife.gov.au to learn more about organ and tissue donations.