HEART transplant patient Norm Rudd will never forget the phone call that saved his life but the feeling was ‘bittersweet’.
“I was quite lucky I didn’t have to wait too long for my new heart; unfortunately receiving a major organ means someone has had to pass away,” he said.
The mine worker for Bellevue met with Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt on Tuesday to raise awareness of organ donation as part of this year’s DonateLife Week.
Mr Rudd was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fellot and has spent his life fighting heart problems.
Early last year, he underwent the lifesaving heart transplant that gave him a new lease on life.
“I have always been an organ donor; however you don’t always realise the impact it can have until you or someone you know are the one that needs an organ,” he said.
Living donors who donate a kidney or part of a kidney continue to lead a normal life.
“The message I would like to get across is that you don’t need your organs when you are gone; however, they may be able to be used by someone else.”
He said organ donors saved lives.
“We’re not asking for an arm or a leg, just your organs once you no longer need them. Your donation can be used to make someone’s life worth living.”
Member for Hasluck Mr Wyatt is encouraging people to sign up as organ donors in record time through a new online registration process.
He said a few minutes registering with the Australian Organ Donor Register at donatelife.gov.au could improve the lives of 10 people or more needing organ or tissue donation.
“As the Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority, I’m very passionate about urging all Australians to jump online today,” he said.
Research commissioned by the OTA highlights the gap between people willing to become an organ and tissue donor (67 per cent) and the number of registered donors (33 per cent).
Online registration aims to remove barriers to saving more lives and encourage donors to share their wishes with family.
A record 1,713 Australians received a transplant last year, thanks to the generosity of 503 deceased and 267 living organ donors and their families.
“With around 1,400 Australians currently on transplant waiting lists and a further 12,000 people on dialysis, I’m asking everyone in Hasluck to join the register as soon as possible,” said Mr Wyatt.
Along with the new online registration, people can also join the Australian Organ Donor Register online via the myGov, Medicare Express Plus and Department of Human Services websites, and by submitting printed forms.
Mr Wyatt invites new donors to share their registered decision on social media this DonateLife Week, using #makeitcount and #donatelife.