Donating Life…the greatest gift

As published in La Fiamma, l’Angolo Della Terza Eta 23/9/13

Co.As.It. has been approached by Cultural Partners Australia (a Sydney based multicultural research and marketing company) to help distribute information about the Australian Government’s campaign “Donate Life…the greatest gift”.

‘Donate Life… the greatest gift” is a community education campaign for people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities aimed at increasing family discussion about organ and tissue donation wishes. The Australian Government is encouraging families to have this important conversation.

The Australian Government Organ and Tissue Authority has produced a number of resources as part of the campaign. These materials have been developed through a process of consultation with religious and cultural leaders, for people of various faiths, including the Catholic faith. The resources are available in a number of languages, including Italian.

One of these resources is an information brochure which includes the following information and answers to frequently asked questions:

Organ donation is a life- saving and life- transforming medical process.

People from all walks of life depend on organ and tissue donations, regardless of race, origin, religion or language. A diverse range of religions support donation. Organ and tissue donations happen quickly after death. The donor’s body is always treated with dignity and respect and donation will not alter the physical appearance of the body. People decide to become donors to help save or improve the lives of others. Giving the gift of life to another is the gift for life. Whatever you decide about donation, the people close to you need to know your decision. And you need to know theirs in case one day you are asked to give the final OK.

Why should I become a donor?

A shortage of donors means that around 1600 people are on Australian organ transplant waiting lists. One organ and tissue donor can save or enhance the lives of ten or more people.

Does my family need to know my donation wishes?

If the situation arises, the family will be asked to give their consent for organ and/ or tissue donation to proceed. The request will only be made by trained health professionals. Registering to be an organ and tissue donor is not enough- your family will be asked to give consent. The most important thing that helps a family confirm a loved one’s wishes one day is asking and knowing those wishes today.

Which organs can be donated?

In Australia, people can donate the following:

  • Organs- including kidneys, heart, lungs, liver and pancreas
  • Tissue- including heart valves, bone tissue, skin, eye and pancreas tissue.

For more information visit www.donatelife.gov.au.

Many people owe their lives to organ and tissue transplants. Such new technologies are hailed by the Catholic Church and many other faiths as a great service to life. One way of nurturing a culture of life is through a willingness to donate organs and tissues with a view to offering a chance of health and even life itself to people who are sick. Anyone can become a donor, regardless of age, with the consent of the family at the time of death. Older donors have been able to prolong the life of younger recepients.

To register as a donor visit your local Medicare office, where you can pick up a Donor register brochure and registration form, or telephone 1800 777 203. If you require an interpreter, call the Telephone Information Service (TIS) on 131450 and ask them to connect you to the Australian Organ Donor Register. Forms are also available on- line.

Donating Life..the greatest gift in Italian