Make this the week you say 'yes' to organ donation
This DonateLife Week (26 July- 2 August), Illawarra and Shoalhaven residents are encouraged to talk about organ and tissue donation and join the Australian Organ Donor Register.
Registering as an organ donor gives hope to the 1,700 Australians and their families waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Many more Australian lives can be transformed through tissue donation.
ISLHD Donation Specialist Nurse Miriam Nonu said the Illawarra Shoalhaven's donor registrations were above the state average but urged more people to come on-board, register and talk about the topic with family.
"In the Illawarra Shoalhaven, 49 per cent of those eligible are registered for organ donation, whereas only one-third of people are in NSW. That is despite most people saying they support organ donation," Ms Nonu said.
"Registration is so important because it leaves families in no doubt of their loved one's wish to be an organ and tissue donor. Organ and tissue donation gives people needing a transplant a second chance at life."
Amy Champness is one Illawarra resident who received a second chance at life, thanks to a double organ donation. The 42-year-old mum from Tullimbar had her kidney and pancreas transplant at the beginning of 2019.
Mrs Champness has become a strong and tireless advocate for organ and tissue donation, bringing the topic up whenever she can to educate and encourage would-be donors.
"I will be forever thankful to my donor," Mrs Champness said. "I am so grateful, every day.
"I have never been an unhealthy person anyway, but now I am even more conscious of being healthy. I am determined to live a good life, not just for myself but for my donor too.
"What I do now, I do for them as well. The majority of the things I can do now, I would not have been able to do but for my donor."
Ms Nonu reminded people that in NSW you can no longer register as an organ donor via your driver's licence. To join the Australian Organ Donor Register, visit donatelife.gov.au.
"Registering is quick and easy. It only takes a minute with your Medicare card," she said.
"If you are already registered, you can do more. Talk to your friends, family and colleagues this DonateLife Week. Tell them you want to be a donor, and encourage them to register too."