Speech - National launch of The Last Race St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, 22 February 2012
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PDF printable version of National launch of The Last Race St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, 22 February 2012 (PDF 25 KB)
22 February 2012
Today we celebrate a landmark Australian film, a film that speaks to every Australian.
A film that will start family conversations that could one day save lives.
A film that all Australians will have the chance to see next Sunday night, the closing of DonateLife Week 2012.
DonateLife Week is part of the Australian Government’s national DonateLife awareness campaign to increase family discussion about personal donation wishes.
Australia has successively achieved its highest-ever donation and transplantation outcomes in the first two full years of the Government’s national reform agenda.
For the first time, our highest annual number of transplant recipients – 1,001 - was achieved last year.
This encouraging outcome is a result of the wonderful legacy of 337 donors and their families.
In Australia, the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased.
That it is why it is so important that we ask and know the donation wishes of our loved ones.
You never know when you could be asked “did they want to be an organ and tissue donor?”
Life can change in an instant. A day like any other can suddenly be one of grief and loss, and of having to know a loved one’s donation wishes.
Families like the Brennans, who generously shared their story at last week’s national launch of DonateLife Week 2012.
Eighteen-year-old Mitchell had been driving home at a safe speed, after spending time with his sister Melanie and her four-week-old baby.
In a fatal accident, just 500 metres from her home, Mitchell was airlifted to hospital and shortly diagnosed with brain death.
Melanie, her sisters Chloe and Hayley, and mother Sonja were faced with deciding whether to agree to Mitchell becoming an organ donor. They were all registered donors, but they did not know Mitchell’s wishes. He saved the lives of four other Australians.
The Brennan family are sharing their story this week in an online video to reach out to young people and say it’s OK to talk about organ and tissue donation - you need to talk about it with your friends and your family.
New research commissioned by the Organ and Tissue Authority reveals the chance to save a life is the key motivator for young people aged 18-29 in deciding about organ and tissue donation.
And the majority of young people say that their religious or cultural beliefs would not be a barrier to them deciding to be an organ and tissue donor.
Yet, alarmingly, 40% of young adults aged 18-29 are concerned that their family would not want them to become an organ and tissue donor.
Many young people believe that it is better to leave it to their family to decide, should the situation arise where donation is possible.
That is why a key focus of DonateLife Week this year is about engaging young Australians.
The research also found that the media and friends are the key influencers to encourage young people to talk about organ and tissue donation.
This is why the Australian Government is proud to support the production of The Last Race. I am confident that any young person, any family who watches this film will be deeply motivated to take action and ask their family about their donation wishes.
I commend Anita Belgiorno-Nettis and Tristram Niall, the producers from Alagna Films and respected across the industry, for their ability to bring to the screen a confronting and difficult topic with sensitivity, humanity and compassion.
The Last Race explores the key themes of family discussion and the importance of communicating your donation wishes with your loved ones.
It tells the story of a young man whose life was cut tragically short but who has the potential to save lives through organ and tissue donation.
It tells the story of his fiancÚ, struggling to come to terms with her loss and the prospect of donation.
It tells the story of a young girl, whose life will end without the gift of a lung transplant.
It is a story that resonates with us all – that could one day be part of our own story.
This beautiful film will play an important role in prompting family discussion about donation wishes.
I commend the ABC for broadcasting The Last Race at the closing of DonateLife Week, on Sunday 26 February this year.
The Last Race is a timely and vital contribution to film and television in Australia.
It comes from the heart of producer Anita Belgiorno-Nettis, who has her own personal connection to organ donation through the loss of her beloved brother Mattia (pronounced Mat-ee-a).
Anita was inspired to create The Last Race by a poem written by her father about the emotional experience that their family endured after deciding to donate Mattia’s organs.
It is this same poem upon which that talented Australian scriptwriter, Peter Schreck has based the screenplay for The Last Race.
Anita, your film, produced in collaboration with Tristram Niall and enriched by the talents of all the cast and crew, is extraordinary.
I am very pleased that, in addition to the national broadcast on Sunday night, The Last Race will be available across the community as part of an education resource. This will play an important role in
continuing to educate all Australians about the facts about organ and tissue donation, to help Australians make informed donation decisions and to share their decisions with family and friends.
Please join me in welcoming from Alagna Films, producer of The Last Race, Anita Belgiorno-Nettis.
For more information , please contact the Parliamentary Secretary’s Office on 02 6277 4230
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