August is Organ Donor Awareness month (#ORGust)
Organ failure seemed like something that only happened to other people. Until it didn’t. We woke up one day finding ourselves in ER’s at 2am. We found ourselves Googling “How long is the waiting list” and breaking down crying at the search results. We learnt how to dose pills and change bandages. We learnt medical terms and memorised medical histories. We made light of dark things. We will do it over again no matter how long it takes. We will wait for it to get better. Because eventually, it will.
But what if we didn’t have to wait?
What if South Africa was an Opt Out rather than Opt In country when it came to organ donation? What if you were born an organ donor? Sadly in South Africa you are not born an organ donor, but you have the choice to die as one. Today I am going to ask you to consider that choice.
If you are healthy and able to travel without medical concern, do you know how fortunate you are? Imagine being reliant on machines to get through the day. Oxygen, dialysis, transfusions, all these and more tie you to one place. You might be able to get through a full day of work, if you are lucky. But you have to sit back, be strapped down and watch life move on without you. I do not wish it on my worst enemy.
I used to argue with people when they gave excuses to not sign up as organ donors. I used to try and reassure them of their fears. “What if I can still be saved, would doctors let me die just to take my organs?” I used to tell them that doctors promise to do no harm. That you are first priority. But lately I stopped arguing. Part of me grew bitter. I grew tired of trying to make people understand what it meant. How one more person ticking that box increases the chances of changing lives. Not just one life but many lives. You can save up to 7 people with your organs but you save so many more from the daily struggle. The wait, the helplessness of standing by as someone you care for looses hope. You don’t only save the one suffering from the failure, you save their loved ones too.
This month, #ORGust, I urge you to take 3 minutes of your time and sign up as an organ donor. Go travel the world, go see places and do things. But before you leave on your adventure sign up and ensure that should your adventure come to a sudden end, you can help someone else start theirs.
Sign up clicking on the GREEN ribbon.