Currently only 26 per cent of the City of Greater Bendigo’s eligible population is registered as a donor, a figure below the national average of 36 per cent.
Volunteer Richard Betteridge said he wouldn’t be standing here if it weren’t for the gift of a liver from an organ donor. He acknowledges that it is a bittersweet memory given it meant a family had lost their loved one.
“The life that has passed is finished and they’re a memory you’ll hold forever,” Richard said. “Through their passing you can pass life onto someone else.”
“Because of my donor I got to see a grandson that I never would have seen, my oldest granddaughter go to high school, and my youngest granddaughter become school captain.”
There are around 1750 seriously ill people on Australia’s organ transplant waitlist and another 13,000 people on dialysis who may benefit from a kidney transplant, so the demand for organs and tissue has never been greater.
Bendigo Nurse Donation Specialist Bradley Allan said any Australian aged 16 and over can sign up online.
“It only takes one minute to sign up as an organ donor potentially saving up to seven lives and help more through eye and tissue donation,” he said.
“We’d encourage people to talk with their family about their decision because in the hospital discussing organ and tissue donations can be difficult at such an emotional time as the death of a loved one.
“Being an intensive care nurse I’ve seen both sides: the tragedy but also the greater good. It’s a wonderful gift that keeps giving.
“This week is about raising awareness to the greater community to get those extra 13 million people around Australia who are eligible to register.”
For more information on DonateLife Week visit their website here.