David O’Leary (Gift Of Life president), Cindy Barry (DonateLife CEO), and federal regional Health Minister Mark Coulton on this year’s Gift of Life Walk.

Donating the gift of life

March 12, 2020 BY

New data released by the Organ and Tissue Authority revealed more than 1,600 Australian lives were saved last year thanks to organ transplants from 787 donors.

The figures showed 113 hearts, 857 kidneys, 183 lungs, 308 livers and 40 pancreases were gifted to 1,444 people through Australia’s organ donor program, DonateLife.

There were also 239 living donations of a kidney and one liver in 2019.

Of the living kidney transplants, 49 were made possible by the recently expanded Australian and New Zealand Kidney Exchange Program, which aims to increase access to life saving kidney transplants for residents of both countries.

Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton said these remarkable numbers couldn’t be achieved without donors, and the families who chose to say ‘yes’ to organ donation while suffering loss.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you,” Mr Coulton said while participating in the Gift of Life Walk, which raises the profile of the importance of registering as an organ donor.

A record number of Australians also benefited from eye and tissue donation last year, with 2,414 people receiving a corneal transplant.

The number of potential donors identified in Australian hospitals has increased, along with the number of families who agreed to donate their deceased loved ones’ organs.

“Our 275 dedicated donation specialists work tirelessly across 98 hospitals nationwide to ensure best clinical practice and to support families through organ and tissue donation, resulting in more people benefiting from a lifesaving transplant whenever it is possible,” Mr Coulton said.

“DonateLife clinical staff provide an outstanding service that has seen Australia more than double the number of organ donors in the past decade.”

To register as an organ or tissue donor, head to donatelife.gov.au.