MAIL COLUMN- Heartfelt Donation

I recently learned of the accomplishment of one of our Yarra Valley residents. A Mount Evelyn man who has travelled to the UK to give his 500th donation of platelets at the Blood Donor centre in Birmingham. In the past 12 years he also made his 480th and 490th donations at the Birmingham centre. The other 497 donations were made here in Melbourne. What an amazing accomplishment!

Platelet transfusion can be the difference between life and death. Conditions such as leukaemia and medical treatments like chemotherapy can decrease a person’s platelet count needing a donation from the public. Donating platelets is similar to making a blood donation.

This generous giving by just one person raised my interest and my research shows we need many more people to become blood donors and we also need many more people to become organ donors. In 2016 with the blessing of their families, 503 donors gave 1447 Australians a new chance at life.

I encourage everyone to consider becoming an organ donor, at any given time there are roughly 1400 Australians on a lifesaving organ transplant waiting list. One organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people

Sadly, there are some myths that do turn people away from joining an organ donor list. For example, some people think they are too old to go on the donor list. This is not true, age is no barrier, and there are examples of people over 80 who became organ donors.

Some people believe that if they register as a donor that the doctor would not try as hard to save their life, this is incorrect.  A doctor’s first priority is to try and save their patient’s life irrespective of whatever list they are on.

Most importantly when deciding to become a donor you need to discuss your choice with your family.  Many families find it hard at a very emotional time to give permission for their loved ones organs to be donated.  Making your wishes known makes the decision so much easier for your family. David and I have both made it very clear to our families that any useful “bits” are to be donated and all of children and their partners are now on the register.

Please visit www.donatelife.gov.au to learn more on becoming a donor.

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