DonateLife: Awareness for organ donation

South Australians are being urged to discuss a vital decision about organ and tissue donation with their families during DonateLife Week 2019.

DonateLife Week 2019 (July 28-August 8) is the national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation in Australia.

In the local area, a special awareness event will be held on Saturday July 27, when Naracoorte's footballers and netballers host Kybybolite. The A grade football and netball teams will wear special coloured socks - one team in white, one in pink - to mark the occasion.

The event has been organised with the help of local organ recipient Sharon Hoskin, who received a life-saving heart transplant late last year.

Sharon has become a staunch advocate for raising awareness about donation and urges everyone to "have the conversation".

"Organ and tissue donation can save so many people and why wouldn't you want to help someone after you don't need your organs any more?

"If it wasn't for the generous family of my donor my grandchildren wouldn't have a nan to grow up with. My children wouldn't have their mother and my husband would be without his wife.

"It takes 30 seconds to become an organ donor and that 30 seconds can change an entire family's life for many years."

In 2018, 1782 lives were transformed by 554 deceased and 238 living organ donors and their families. A further 10,500 Australians benefited from eye and tissue transplants.

With around 1400 Australians currently wait listed for a transplant, and a further 11,000 people on dialysis, we need to optimise every donation opportunity to save more lives.

South Australia has the highest number of registrations in Australia with 68 per cent of South Australians registered to be organ and tissue donors. In 2018, 36 South Australians saved the lives of 95 people on the organ recipient waitlist, giving them the ultimate gift of life.

So far in 2019, 29 South Australians have donated organs to 73 people.

The majority of South Australians (93%) are confident their partner or family members would uphold their donation decision in the event of their death, yet only 62 per cent have discussed the topic of organ donation with their families.

South Australians can register to be an organ and tissue donor by ticking a box when applying for or renewing their driver's licence. However, we recommend all South Australians take the extra step and register with the Australian Organ Donor Register, online through donateLife.gov.au or through myGov, so families are clear of their decision.