Discuss Giving Life During Donatelife Week
Australia’s first national DonateLife Week has been launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King.
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18 February 2011
Australia’s first national DonateLife Week was today launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King.
DonateLife Week aims to encourage families to talk about whether individuals want to become organ donors, after their death. Its theme is: “Any day is a good day to talk about organ and tissue donation, especially this week because it’s DonateLife Week”.
“We need to let Australians know it is OK to talk about what you and your loved ones want to happen if one of you dies,” Ms King said. “It’s important that your family know and accept your views, they will be asked to confirm your wishes.”
Ms King said family discussion is vital because in Australia family consent is always sought before donation can proceed. Australia’s consent rate for donation is less than 60 per cent.
“In 2010, the first full year of implementation of the Government’s $151 million package to raise donation rates, a record 309 deceased Australians donated their organs and tissue for transplant - saving or improving the lives of 931 others.
“This is encouraging, but we need more discussion to help lift these figures further and DonateLife Week is important in generating those discussions.”
Ms King also announced that the Governor-General of Australia, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, had agreed to be the inaugural ambassador for DonateLife.
“It is wonderful that the Governor-General has made this commitment. With the most welcome participation and support of the Governor-General in this way we can go ahead even more confidently to build the donation rate,” Ms King said.
At the launch, as the inaugural DonateLife Ambassador, the Governor-General launched the DonateLife Book of Life: A collection of life-saving and life-changing stories from people touched by organ and tissue donation.
The DonateLife Book of Life will this week embark on a year long journey across Australia, after which it will be donated to the National Library of Australia.
“We are forever indebted to those Australians who have chosen to give life. They have made their mark in the most profound ways and the DonateLife Book of Life bears their courageous stamp,” Ms Bryce said.
“The DonateLife Book of Life is a living book. As these pages travel far and deep across our generous land I encourage all Australians to read the stories and to contribute their own thoughts about organ and tissue donation throughout 2011.”
Ms King said the Book of Life is an innovative and fitting concept which would help to ensure the issue of organ donation remained at the forefront of people’s minds.
For further information on DonateLife Week events and the DonateLife Book of Life visit www.donatelife.gov.au
For more information, please contact the Parliamentary Secretary's Office on (02) 6277 4230
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