9 ways you can save a life – in just 60 seconds

“I’d give everything but my eyes. I don’t want someone else seeing out of my eyes.”

It was an unusual comment from my friend Gemma, but in the context of our discussion – organ donation – it wasn’t too strange.

Upon her passing, she shared that she might be okay with donating her organs, except for her eyes. I, on the other hand, am happy for them to take everything; what use do I have for it?


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The upside for people like Gemma is that you can choose exactly what your preferences are. There are nine different ways you can save a life in your own death, and you can choose what you wish to donate:

• Bone Tissue
• Eye Tissue
• Heart
• Heart Valves
• Kidneys
• Liver
• Lungs
• Pancreas
• Skin Tissue

But Gemma said she won’t be joining the national organ register. “I’m worried that if I get sick, the doctor wouldn’t work hard enough to save me if they want my organs,” she said sheepishly.

Come again? Your doctor, who has sworn a Hippocratic oath to put the saving of lives above all else, would sacrifice your life to save another? This doesn’t make sense, so I posed the discussion a different way.

“Would you accept an organ donated from someone else, if it would save you life?”

She nodded emphatically.

“Then it stands to reason that you should register to donate as well, then…”

Happily, I won her over and she has registered to become an organ donor. I recently read about Sophie, a beautiful 10-year-old girl who drowned in 2016. In her tragic death, she saved the lives of many people.

“We decided that if we were in a situation and we were waiting for organs that would be horrendous,” her mum Karina said. “So for her to be able to do something for someone else… we didn’t hesitate. I think if she had to make a decision she would make the same one, because of her personality. She was so compassionate, loving. She wouldn’t want to see someone suffering.”

This DonateLife Week (Sunday 28 July – Sunday 4 August), register to be an organ donor. They are aiming to double the national register and it’s very easy to join: grab your Medicare card and enter your details here, or register through MyGov, like I did. It takes literally 60 seconds, but could mean the difference between life and death.

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