by Tauri Kerr
Making the world a better place may be easier than it seems.
Organ donation is something that is not spoken about enough, particularly in South Africa. Many people do not realise the value in registering as an organ donor and others do not realise how easy it is to become an organ donor – I am here to make it simple for you!
Every 12 minutes, another person’s name joins the list of people who need an organ. It may be a morbid thought but if you are unable to use your organs anymore then isn’t there consolation in the fact that someone else will live a longer and happier life due to your donation? A single organ and tissue donor can help the lives of 7 people – you would be making a difference to the world, even when you are leaving it.
Signing up sounds like it would be a long and tedious process, but it is ridiculously easy. Go to www.odf.org.za... That is all. The home page has a quick registration section, and the Organ Donor Foundation will contact you thereafter to confirm your registration. It is easier than starting an Instagram account.
I spent a long time on the ODF website and I came across videos of people who are the recipients of organ donations. Listening to their stories has made me realise that it is a blessing to be healthy. All of us woke up this morning, we are able to communicate with those around us and we are able to go about our day-to-day lives with an element of ease. Thinking that I could pass that blessing on to someone else when my physical being has retired, is comforting.
Some people are unable to register to become organ donors for personal or health reasons but there are other donation options too. The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is in desperate need of blood donations. By taking a quiz, you can find out if you are eligible to donate blood. The SANBS currently has enough blood to last another 2,7 days before they run out of donations. Not only are you saving 3 lives if you donate blood, but you reap many health benefits too. Donation stimulates your blood cell production, assists in the maintenance of a healthy liver and heart as well as reducing the risk of hemochromatosis… and you can do this whilst you are still alive.
Now that I have provided you with an information overload, I thought it would be fitting to share with you why this is something I feel so strongly about. I know someone who is in need of a heart. Greg was diagnosed with Cardiac Sarcoidosis at the beginning of this year and is now on day 69 at Milpark hospital.
Cardiac Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease which causes granulomas to form in various organs. Kerry, his devoted wife, has been on a mission to raise awareness of organ donation. She encouraged people to get active on November 22 in order to raise awareness and the response was overwhelming – we were #doingitfortinman. Kerry has set up a Facebook page called My TinMan which posts regular updates on Greg’s health as well as educating people on organ donation. The specificity which goes into looking for a heart creates some challenges and that is why we are encouraging as many people to become donors as possible. We are more likely to find a match if there are 10 hearts to choose from as opposed to 3, to put it into simpler terms.
My appeal to you is to make a difference. Think of the donation not as a duty but as a privilege. It is a blessing to be able to move our bodies and to be healthy. Let us spread that blessing to those around us.
“For it is in giving that we receive” – St Francis Assisi