This DonateLife Week from July 26-August 2, Mid North Coast residents are being urged to join the Australian Organ Donor Register and discuss their donation decision with their loved ones.
Local transplant recipient Marty Sheehan knows first-hand how organ donation can transform a life. Diagnosed with terminal pulmonary fibrosis, he had only months to live when he received a life-saving single lung transplant in early 2019.
The transplant gave the Port Macquarie man a second chance at life - and now he does his bit to repay the generous gift he received.
The 62-year-old embarked on a 'thankyou tour' late last year, riding his Harley Davidson to motorcycle shows and rallies across NSW to raise awareness of organ donation, particularly with males.
"I share my story with the people I meet along the way in the hope that they will register as organ donors. It's my way of saying thank you to my incredible transplant team and to the donor that saved my life," he said.
Mid North Coast Local Health District Organ and Tissue Donation Specialist Anne Judd said 1,700 Australians are currently on transplant waiting lists and a further 12,000 people on dialysis.
"DonateLife Week is a perfect time for us all to make our decision count by registering to become an organ and tissue donor and ensuring our loved ones know our wishes. These two simple steps could one day save lives," Ms Judd said.
"Even if you have previously registered as an organ and tissue donor, take the time to remind your family about your decision."
Last year, 1,683 lives were saved through the generosity of 548 deceased organ donors and their families and 239 living donors.
"The opportunity for organ donation is rare. About two per cent of people who die in hospital will be eligible to donate their organs. However, many more people have the potential to become tissue donors and they are in great need," Ms Judd said.
Join the Australian Organ Donor Register online today at: www.donatelife.gov.au