GIFT OF LIFE: Karen Jenner is encouraging Bundaberg residents to have the conversation and register to become an organ and tissue donor. Picture: Mike Knott.
GIFT OF LIFE: Karen Jenner is encouraging Bundaberg residents to have the conversation and register to become an organ and tissue donor. Picture: Mike Knott.

How to save lives: Ultimate gift of life worth signing up to

ALL it takes is an important conversation and one minute to save a life and here's how.

Every year, Bundaberg supporters participate in week-long campaign DonateLife, in a bid to raise awareness about the importance of signing up to the organ and tissue donor register.

Bundaberg Hospital organ donation specialist nurse co-ordinator Karen Jenner said while COVID-19 has meant many community initiatives were not able to go ahead, local organisations including Bundaberg Hospital, would continue promoting the cause.

"All our community events and public sign-on desks have been suspended," Mrs Jenner said.

"The public has been naturally focused on pandemic health messaging and other impacts."

While the virus has impacted the campaign, organ donation services have been sustained in regional Queensland throughout the year, allowing for new safety practices to ensure lifesaving flights across the borders could continue.

Mrs Jenner said it was more important than ever to convey the important message to the public to have the conversation with loved ones and sign up to become an organ and tissue donor.

Queensland's donor numbers remain consistent but there had been a downturn in new registration numbers.

"This week is all about opening up the public agenda to say 'let's just talk about this out loud and find out the truths behind those myths'," she said.

"It also shows that while the overwhelming majority of people support organ donation, around half were not entirely sure how to register their decision."

Data released from a recent public survey in support of DonateLife Week indicates further awareness needs to be raised about the importance of becoming a donor.

"The survey showed three out of four people who had registered to become a donor had talked about their decision with their family," Mrs Jenner said.

"And we know from experience that nine out of 10 families proceed with donation when their loved one has signed on the Australian Organ Donor Register and talked about it."

More than 1700 Australians are currently on the wait list to receive an organ donation, as well as 12,000 who are receiving kidney dialysis and may need transplants in the future.

Bundaberg real estate agent Lee Brown was one of the recipients to receive the gift of life last year and encourages everyone to register.

"I was extremely fortunate to receive a kidney and are forever grateful to my donor for their decision and to the donor family who gave approval," Mr Brown said.

"I would encourage everyone to go online and register today, this only takes a few moments and potentially could save many lives."

Bundaberg residents can register to be an organ and tissue donor online at donatelifee.gov.au



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