Register: this year marks the tenth annual DonateLife Week, held across Australia. Photo: SUPPLIED

A small step to save a life

July 25, 2021 BY

AUSSIES are being encouraged to take the small but significant step to register as an organ and tissue donor during this year’s DonateLife Week from 25 July to 1 August.

“It’s so important and it’s a decision that could save a life,” said Dr Rohit D’Costa, state medical director for DonateLife Victoria.

This year, DonateLife is asking all people aged 16 years and over to join The Great Registration Race, an initiative aimed at getting 100,000 more people on the Australian Organ Donor Register during July and August.

“We know 13 million Australians can register and they haven’t so this is really a call out to people because we know nine in 10 Australians support organ donation but only one in three is actually registered,” Dr D’Costa said.

“We’re trying to close that gap between people that we know would support organ donation but maybe just haven’t taken that step to register.

“We’ve actually made it really easy to register now in the last few years. All you need to do now is jump online… bring your Medicare card with you and it only takes a minute now to register.”

Anyone above the age of 16 can register to become an organ donor regardless of their current health, medical history or country of birth, and those who choose to do so should let their family and friends know of their decision.

This year’s DonateLife Week comes after a year of decreased donation and transplantation activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the organisation.

Registrations were down by 16 per cent last year compared to 2019, with the same percentage decrease in the number of donors.

There was also a 12 per cent drop in the number of people receiving a transplant.

“People are still in need of life saving and life transforming transplants and for many people the only chance they have is through the generosity and the gift of someone else,” Dr D’Costa said.

He also encouraged those who had registered in the past with their driver’s license to check their registration online, as that system is no longer used in Victoria.

To become an organ and tissue donor or to check your registration, visit donatelife.gov.au/join-register.

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