ORGust
Photo Credit: TELL

August, or ORGust, is national organ and tissue awareness month in South Africa; these three women have had their lives changed or are waiting for that perfect match – They give back by raising awareness!

 

South Africa (02 August 2022) – August is National Organ and tissue awareness month in South Africa, and TELL is on a mission to bring awareness to the importance of organ donation. They are also encouraging everyone to have a conversation with their family and friends and Make It Known that they wish to one day become an organ donor.

TELL was created and run, by patients who have first-hand experience of the life-changing effect of an organ transplant. One organ donor can save EIGHT LIVES and change the lives of up to 72 people. This month TELL is highlighting EIGHT reasons why organ and tissue donation is so important.

8 Organs, 8 Reasons

1. Organ donation is an opportunity to help others.

One day, when you pass away and no longer need your organs, you can leave a legacy behind and save patients on a waiting list for a life-saving organ. Life is the best gift you can give!

“I don’t know how much time I had left but I knew if I didn’t get lungs soon I would die. My donor didn’t give me a second chance, they gave me a first chance at life and I am forever grateful.”
– Fawn Kruger, Double Lung Transplant Recipient.

2. Lessen the need for expensive and intrusive treatments.

The waiting list for a kidney in South Africa is 12-15 years, and while patients wait, they need to get treatment in a dialysis centre, 12 hours a week. 20 000 new patients are diagnosed with kidney failure every year in South Africa and the cost of sustaining 1 person on dialysis per annum is approximately R280,000. If more transplants take place, it opens up space for others to get treatment on dialysis, as in the state sector, dialysis treatments are rationed; only patients eligible for a transplant will have access to dialysis.

“Dialysis keeps me alive and I’m grateful for the technology, but you don’t get to take a break and it gets to me especially when I need to do dialysis on a public holiday.” – Stella de Kock, Has been awaiting a kidney transplant for 11 years.

3. Create a positive ripple effect on family and friends.

When a patient is saved, it’s not only life-changing for that patient but also means a mom hasn’t had to bury a daughter, a husband hasn’t had to say goodbye to their wife, or perhaps kids have more time with their mom.

4. Change people’s lives.

Some patients lived a relatively normal life before their bodies went into organ failure. When you gift someone a new organ they are able to resume the lifestyle they once had.

For other patients, due to a chronic illness, they may have never experienced life with a healthy organ. For these patients, transplantation is life-changing, and you as a donor are not only extending their life but improving the quality of their life.

Pope John Paul II describes organ donation as “offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope”

5. It costs nothing to be a donor

There are no financial costs involved in being an organ and tissue donor for the family of the donor. All the costs will be covered by the recipient’s medical aid or the state hospital. Transplantation is a cost-effective treatment readily available. It may take years of medical technology to come up with an alternative treatment option, so we need to make use of organ donation while we can.

Living donors also fill a crucial need as the shortage of deceased donors continues. A living donor can donate a kidney or a portion of their liver to a friend or family member or even altruistically (to a stranger) and continue to live a normal life.

People waiting for a kidney transplant make up more than 80 percent of people on the organ waiting list, and people waiting for a liver transplant makeup approximately 12 percent.

Reference: https://www.nebraskamed.com/transplant/liver/top-10-reasons-to-become-an-organ-donor

6. Allow patients to become more than their illness and contribute to society.

When someone goes through end stage organ failure, there is not much time to LIVE. They are bound to treatments, strict medication regimens, dietary restrictions, invasive tests and constant checkups and hospital admissions. Their only dream is to receive a transplant, and they have little mental or physical energy to do much else. After such a traumatic and life-changing experience, many transplant patients go on to give back to society as they are filled with gratitude. Some day, it could be your own family or loved one who needs an organ and can benefit from another’s generosity.

“Currently I have two part time jobs, I exercise quite a bit, I try to do as much for TELL as my time allows, I’m an aunt to a beautiful niece and nephew, and I’ve just moved in with a wonderful man. Not a day goes by that I take breathing for granted.” – Alice Vosloo, Recipient of 2 double lung transplants.

7. Peace of mind that you’re doing the right thing.

You are 6 times more likely to need an organ than to be able to donate one. With this in mind, it’s important to ask yourself – if you or your loved ones ever needed an organ, would you accept one? If the answer is yes then it’s only fair that you repay the favour and tell your family that you too would like to donate your organs one day.

There are no age restrictions on organ donation and even people with chronic diseases can be donors. The transplant team will assess the donor’s suitability at the time of death. Everyone can give something.

8. Organ donation can be a rewarding experience.

When your loved ones make the decision to donate your organs, it can help a family work through the grieving process and deal with their loss. It brings comfort to know their loved one’s death had one positive outcome – that of potentially saving the lives of up to 8 people and improving the quality of life of up to 72 people by donating tissue.

*Remember, in South Africa your next of kin has the final say, so it’s important that they know your wishes to become an organ donor so that they can honour these wishes at the time of your death.

For more information about organ and tissue donation, please visit TELL’s social media pages @tellorgza, website at www.tell.org.za or e-mail: info@tell.org.za 


Sources: TELL – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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