Today I urge all Canberrans to show their support for organ and tissue donation and to discuss their wishes on organ donation by joining thousands of others in the Gift of Life Donation Life Walk around Lake Burley Griffin at 7 am on Wednesday, 27 February. The walk is part of Donate Life Week, which runs from 24 February to 3 March.
Last year more Australians than ever before received a life-saving transplant. Figures released by the government and the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry show a five per cent increase in donors in 2012, which resulted in a four per cent increase in transplant recipients. Each donor can save many lives. The Gift of Life president, David O'Leary, said about this increase:
The overall national outcome represents steady progress over the past year, resulting in a significant increase in organ donation and transplantation since the Australian Government's reform program began a few years ago.
One of the biggest obstacles to increasing organ donations is family consent, which is always sought. I urge and encourage everyone to discuss their wishes with their families and friends and sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register. The evidence shows that in the majority of cases where families know their loved one's wishes to become a donor they provide their consent. If people want to register for the walk they can register their details at www.giftoflife.asn.au.