Most people support organ donation, but almost half of those don’t know what their loved one’s intentions are.
So when tragedy strikes, and grief clouds the decision-making process, the intentions of the deceased are often overlooked.
It is an understandable scenario, but the reality is Australia needs more organs donated.
With a population of 22.5 million people there were only 354 organ donors last year.
While awareness and support are high, people’s intentions are not producing the results hospitals and recipients need.
Tamworth woman Leonnee Pinchen-Martin, a young mother with a baby son, is one of the lucky few who has received a heart transplant. Her life has turned from staring death in the face to one full of joy and fresh opportunities thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.
There are other members of the community who have also benefited and they and their families will remain forever grateful.
In this community we can raise millions of dollars each year for charities and worthy causes, but in comparison the number of organ donations which reflect our benevolent nature is remarkably small.
This week is DonateLife Week, a campaign which puts the focus on organ and tissue donation.
Next week another worthy cause will be the focus and in no time organ donation will have moved from the spotlight and much of the momentum will have been lost.
It will take more than one special week and a targeted marketing campaign to produce the results Australia needs.
Therefore, organ and tissue donation need to be a constant topic of conversation. More needs to be done to keep it before the public, because while Australians are willing, they are often slow to act.
Our national open-mindedness on this subject should be reflected in a much higher donation rate each year.
Progress has been slow, but good intentions are a healthy starting point, it is the next few steps which are proving difficult.