Grace opts for change

Eleven-year-old Grace Hoes’ website encouraging people to talk to their families about their organ donation wishes has been ‘liked’ on Facebook more than 5000 times in two months. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d410362
Eleven-year-old Grace Hoes’ website encouraging people to talk to their families about their organ donation wishes has been ‘liked’ on Facebook more than 5000 times in two months. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d410362

And 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 created a website to encourage people to discuss their wishes regarding organ donation with their families. It features 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.

Speaking at the request of Governor Malcolm McCusker and his wife at the Kids Who Give WA Gala Awards at Government House, she 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.

‘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.

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

The program had tasked Grace and her fellow PEAC students with ‘making a difference’ on a subject they were passionate about.

Visit talkaboutorgandonation.com.