Western Australia’s bone and tissue bank has thrown down the gauntlet to WA workplaces in a bid to open community dialogue about the importance or organ and tissue donation in the lead-up to DonateLife Week 2017.
For the first time, PlusLife has launched the PlusLife Corporate Challenge to increase awareness about life-changing organ and tissue donations and to bolster the numbers of people actively registering their donation wishes.
WA Police, St John Ambulance, Landgate, St John of God Murdoch and the City of Swan have joined the movement, partnering with PlusLife for the challenge.
PlusLife Managing Director Anne Cowie said the PlusLife Corporate Challenge aimed to raise vital community awareness about organ and tissue donation and to promote discussion in workplaces and amongst families.
“National statistics show that nine in 10 families agree to donation when their loved one is a registered donor. But this figure drops to just five in 10 families when the deceased has not registered and relatives are not clear about their loved one’s wishes,” Mrs Cowie said.
“The reality is that signing up to the national organ and tissue donation registry can save and enhance lives.”
PlusLife, which administers bone and tissue donations, coordinates two donor programs in WA.
Living patients having hip replacement surgery can donate the ball part of their hip, which is used commonly in a ground-up form for children with spinal deformities. And, like organ donation, bone, tendons and ligaments can be donated after death with consent from next- of-kin.
“While organ donation rightly has a high community profile and is known as the ultimate, life- saving gift, many people are not aware that tissue donation is actually possible, or that their decision to be a tissue donor can have life-changing benefits for patients,” Mrs Cowie said.
“One deceased tissue donor has the potential to improve the wellbeing, sight and mobility of up to 60 people.
“There is a significant lack of awareness about the donation of human tissue after death, which includes bones, tendons, corneas, heart valves and skin. This lack of awareness impacts on the likely decision family of a recently deceased person will make when asked to consent to donation by their loved one.”
Last year, more than 560 West Australians were given the gift of improved mobility and wellbeing, thanks to the selfless donations of bone and tissue.
Grafts are used for patients undergoing life-changing operations, such as surgery to treat spinal deformities, bone cancers, complex joint surgery and treatment of patients with dental and facial bone loss.
Latest statistics show that just 36.2% of West Australians are registered organ and tissue donors. South Australia has the highest rate in the nation, with 66.3% of people registered.
“Thousands of West Australians have been helped by PlusLife and bone and tissue donations in incredible, life-changing ways,” Mrs Cowie said.
“We urge West Australians to consider tissue donation, talk to your family and friends about your wishes and register your wishes on the Australian Organ Donor Registry.”
DonateLife Week, which runs from July 30 until August 6, is Australia’s national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation.
To sign up to the PlusLife Corporate Challenge, visit:
https://www.pluslife.org.au/about/corporate-challenge To register as an organ and tissue donor, visit https://register.donatelife.gov.au/decide or via