Updated 24 December 2015

Give the gift of life this Christmas

Give the gift of life this Christmas and register as an organ donor – you could be saving seven people.

This festive season there will be many children who will not be opening Christmas gifts. Sadly, these children will die waiting for a life-saving organ that will never arrive!

Should we ask ourselves if this is fair and right, if there is something that you and I can do about this?

Save seven lives

Despite more than 500,000 deaths every year in South Africa of people needing organ transplants, fewer than 350 life-saving organs are donated. This leaves more than 4,300 children and adults at the mercy of your and my simple decision.

Read: Become an organ donor

All it takes for you and me is to decide to register as an organ donor and to make the effort to tell our family that it is our wish to donate our organs. It is such a simple decision. Something that many of us could, and would, do if we only took a moment to consider it. 

Nationally there are over 4,300 South Africans awaiting an organ and cornea transplant. Fewer than 350 life-saving transplants are performed each year and many adults and children die waiting for a life-saving transplant. 

Read: SA needs organ donors

One person can save seven lives when they become an organ donor: 1 heart, 2 lungs, 2 kidneys, 1 liver and 1 pancreas. One donor can also improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people by donating their tissue – their skin, bone, heart valves and corneas. This is what Jenna Lowe did, whose GetMeTo21 convinced more than 8,000 people to register as organ donors. 

In South Africa, less than 0.3% of the population are registered organ donors.

Read: Unhealthy SA lifestyles boost organ demand

If compared to other countries such as the USA, who have 40% of their population as registered organ donors and Australia (whose awareness campaigns are entirely funded by their Government), who have 24% of their population as registered organ donors, we must admit that South Africa has a shockingly low statistic.

How to donate organs in SA

Register online or call the Organ Donor Foundation on 0800-22-6611. You will be sent a card and stickers to put on your ID document and driver’s licence.

What organs can be donated?

Your heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and lungs can save seven lives.

What tissue can you donate?

Your corneas, skin, bone and heart valves can save 50 lives.

Can you choose what you would like to donate?

Yes. Inform your friends and family about your wishes.

Give the gift of life

The Organ Donor Foundation is driving this project with the specific aim to address the severe shortage of organs in general and to specifically give children who are desperately waiting, the chance of a life-saving organ transplant.

Read more:

Call for Facebook organ donor tool in SA 

FAQ about organ donation in SA 

100 minute old baby teddy becomes UK's youngest organ donor 


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