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Updated: Oct 28, 2023

When you die you don’t make any decisions, let alone whether your organs will be donated to save the lives of strangers.

Have you ever thought about registering with the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority to be an organ donor, should you pass under the right circumstances?

You may have even felt good about the decision and even better when you registered. It is an altruistic act and certainly seems to be an easy enough thing to do.

Certainly you may even have felt it appropriate to let people know you had registered. I know did.

Guess what though, letting people know is NOT ENOUGH.

If you do die, whilst on life support ensuring the viability of your organs to be used for transplant to save the lives of others, whether you have registered to be a donor or not, your family will be asked for consent.

This is because without NEXT OF KIN CONSENT in Australia organ donation can not take place.

Alternatively you may have strong opinions about donation and decide to use the donation registration process to RECORD your decision NOT TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR. If this is the case, you too might be surprised to learn that if you do die in the right way your family will be asked to consider donating your organs by overriding your decision.

The only way to ensure that you can become a donor hero when you die is to make your wishes know to your family before tragedy strikes and then ask them to honour your wishes when you die.

No family sets out to become a deceased donor family on any particular day, yet each year around 1400 families in Australia will be faced with the decision. Many for the first time when they learn their loved one is never coming home.

These families will learn a loved one’s mortal journey has come to an end, long before they ever expected or wanted to lose that person.

Yet last year 701 of these families found the compassion and understanding to give the gift of life to strangers through donating their loved one’s organs.

For full disclosure, in 2022 one of those families said yes when asked and in that moment saved my life.

That is why I am so grateful and even more passionate about raising awareness for the rôle families have in Organ Donation and why I believe every donor is a hero.

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