Girl gives to make a difference

Grace with her Kids Who Give award. Picture: David Baylis d410362
Grace with her Kids Who Give award. Picture: David Baylis d410362

If 5000-plus Facebook likes, her local MLA and Rotary Club and the Governor of WA are anything to go by, it seems the 11-year-old has succeeded.

Grace spoke at Governor Malcolm McCusker and his wife’s request when her Primary Extension and Challenge (PEAC) group attended the Kids Who Give WA Gala Awards at Government House.

It was the Campbell Primary School student’s third visit with Thornlie PEAC, whose Make a Difference program won the overall supreme champions award.

Grace said she had been aware of the organ donation issues for some time. ‘One of my closest friends died of a brain tumour and her parents wanted to donate her organs,’ she said.

She said Australia’s donor rate was one of the lowest in the developed world, at nine people per million.

‘People want to become organ donors but their families don’t know and, out of their grief, they stop it,’ she said.

‘I believe the answer lies in better communication between us as potential donors and our families.’

She asked listeners to support an opt-out, rather than opt-in, donation system and in the meantime, opt in themselves. ‘Surely there can be nothing better in this life than saving someone else’s,’ she said.

Grace created a website to encourage people to discuss their wishes with their families, featuring a printable My Family Knows My Choice acknowledgement.

She linked it to social media and in two months it has gathered more than 5600 likes and 700 Google+ recommendations.

Grace set up a meeting with Southern River MLA Peter Abetz to discuss opt-out laws and afterwards, Mr Abetz featured her in his newsletter and organised for her to address a Southern Districts Rotary Club meeting.

Visit talkaboutorgandonation.com