I must admit, I don’t like thinking too hard about disease and injury. Yes, hospitals make me uneasy. The thought of surgery makes me squeamish. The details of my death are something I figure I can ignore. And I’ve had the good fortune of decent health and a relatively accident-free existence. Lucky me. But I’m feeling quite proud of myself of late. I finally got round to looking my internal organs in the eye, as it were, and registering as an organ donor.
It’s easy – you can register online, they send you the stickers to put on your ID and driver’s licence, you let your family know, and that’s it. There are currently 3 000 South Africans awaiting organs for transplants that could save their lives. Because of shortages of organs, fewer than 1 in 3 of them will receive those transplants.
This from the Organ Donor Foundation’s website:
Research has shown that organ donation is acceptable to the majority of South Africans and contrary to popular belief, a grieving family takes great comfort from the knowledge that they are able to help others through the donation of their loved one’s organs and tissues.
With excellent long-term survival rates of over 80%, transplantation can no longer be considered experimental and is accepted as the treatment of choice for most patients with end-stage disease.
I’m not going to apologise for the proselytising tone of this post. Sometime, when you need an eye, a kidney or a heart, I really want to know that you’re going to get one. The only way that can happen is for more people to get the little red sticker.