Donors have no regrets

AS a mother you would do anything for your child.Carole Barnes became an organ donor, giving her son a kidney when his own failed.She is one of a small group of people every year who become organ donors.This week is National Organ Donor Awareness Week and Bendigo Health is providing information to encourage more community members to join the national register.Figures show that while 90 per cent of people support organ donation, just 56 per cent of families consent to donation.Bendigo Health nursing medical studies director Donna Sherringham said the key message this week was for families and individuals to discuss organ donation.“Discover, discuss and decide,” she said.“We want to support families to make the decision right for them and their loved ones and encourage the community to have that conversation today, it could save someone’s life.”Mrs Barnes’ donation saved her son’s life.He was on dialysis four times a day and described his life as “working, sleeping and dialising”, she said.“People who need transplants have very poor quality of life and a lot die before they get a transplant,” she said.“It’s an opportunity to do something for somebody else.”Bendigo Hospital organ and tissue donation senior nurse Damien Hurrell is also a donor.Mr Hurrell signed up for the bone marrow registry and after receiving a call out of the blue had no hesitation donating bone marrow to a stranger.“Being a nurse I have seen people struggle with various diseases and go through organ and tissue donation,” he said.“I’d absolutely do it again. I’ve seen the difference that it makes.”Australia has more than 13 million registered organ donors, but last year there were just 247 donors.While 799 Australians received organs a further 1800 are still suffering life threatening conditions on donor waiting lists.A display has been set up in the Hyett Foyer at Bendigo Health where people can go for more information about becoming an organ donor.Volunteers will also be on hand to discuss organ donation.The Organ Donor Registry can be found at www.medicareaustralia.gov.au

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