What if your words had the power to save lives? This is the challenge facing young writers across Western Australia, in a competition aiming to raise awareness of lifesaving organ donation and increase organ donor registration.
The Minister responsible for the Australian Organ and Tissue Transplantation Authority, Ken Wyatt AM, and Member for Forrest, Nola Marino, launched the 2018 Writing For Life competition today at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, as part of DonateLife Week.
“WA high school students are being asked to ‘step into the mind’ of someone who is waiting and wishing for a second chance at life, just like well over one thousand Australians who are now on the organ transplant waiting list,” Minister Wyatt said.
“The decision to become a donor is one of the most selfless acts we can make. Giving the gift of life is an invaluable present for the recipient, as well as their family and their community.”
In 2017, 510 deceased organ donors and their families, and 273 living donors, saved and improved the lives of 1,675 Australians. A further 9,600 Australians benefited from eye and tissue transplants.
Ms Marino said country high schools had a strong track record of participation in Writing For Life.
“This is Bunbury Cathedral Grammar’s third year in the competition, with local student Henry Openshaw taking out first prize in his category last year,” said Ms Marino.
“The competition inspires young people to think about the lifesaving and life changing ramifications of organ and tissue donation, which is crucial in our quest to continue raising the number of people registered as donors.”
More than 10,000 Australians have received a life-saving transplant through the generosity of 3,464 deceased organ donors since the national donation program was introduced in 2009.
“This year’s DonateLife Week theme is ‘What are you waiting for?’ and the Writing For Life competition will help drive home that message.
“There are currently 1,400 Australians on transplant waiting lists and a further 11,000 people on dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant.
“There is no time to wait and it’s never been easier to join the Australian Organ Donor Register. It only takes a minute to sign up using the online form on your smartphone, tablet or computer. You must be 16 or over and have a Medicare card number.”
The Writing For Life competition closes on 21 September 2018, with prizes presented at the DonateLife WA Thank You Day event in November. A total of $2000 is available for winners, kindly supported by DonorMate and Geoff Spencer, in memory of his late wife, Ros, who became a donor.
To register your decision to save lives, go to donatelife.gov.au