In this episode of the podcast, Alex talks with Jenny Holman who works with DonateLife – the Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority. It is her job to walk beside families on some of the hardest days of their lives. Now, Jenny she sees this job as a privilege, an opportunity to help families honour their loved ones in a respectful and beautiful way.
This week is DonateLife Week here in Australia which is all about encouraging us Aussies to sign up to be organ and tissue donors. So, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to hear Jenny’s incredible story and learn a little more about organ donation.
What is the state of Organ and Tissue Donation in Australia?
Organ donation is a lifesaving and life-transforming medical process that transforms the lives of thousands of Aussies every year. In fact, in 2019, 1,683 lives were transformed by 548 deceased and 239 living organ donors and their families. And more than 12,000 Australians benefited from eye and tissue donation.
There are around 1,700 Aussies are currently waitlisted for a transplant. A further 12,000 are on dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant.
Farewelling Loved Ones
Jenny and her team at DonateLife are committed to ensuring families have every opportunity to honour their loved ones at the end of the life. Whether its dressing the deceased in their favourite Swans jersey or allowing loved ones to snuggle in beside their loved ones with a warm blanket, operating in a spirit of compassion in the overriding ethos for Jenny and her colleagues.
How To Become An Organ Donor?
In Australia, you need to register to become a donor. You can visit donatelife.gov.au and register your wishes. Jenny also recommends that you share your wishes with your family also.
Age doesn’t preclude anyone from being an organ donor. In fact, Jenny looked after an 86 year old lady who donated her kidneys and liver. And the oldest cornea donation was from a 102 year old donor!
DonateLife provides lifetime counselling and support to families. Every year they hold a memorial service for those who have donated organs and they send cards on the anniversary of their loved ones’s death.
What Can Be Donated?
Organs that can be transplanted include the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas.
Tissue that can be transplanted includes heart valves and other heart tissue, bone, tendons, ligaments, skin and parts of the eye such as the cornea and sclera.
What You Need To Do?
Only 1 in 3 Aussies are registered to be an organ and tissue donor but over 60% believe it is an important step to take.
Please visit donatelife and register your interest.
You can listen to Alex’s chat with Jenny via your favourite podcast app or via the link below.