Northern NSW Leads the State on Organ and Tissue Donation Rates

Northern NSW Leads the State on Organ and Tissue Donation Rates
Locals are invited to join transplant recipients and donor families at ‘Cycle for Life’, Kingscliff this Sunday

Media opportunity: 10.30am, Sunday 31 August 2014, Salt Central Park, Kingscliff.
Cycle event completion and interviews: Dr Mike Lindley-Jones, Medical Specialist; Tweed Shire Mayor, Barry Longland; Kristen Walsham, donor family member and local organ recipients.

*Registration for the event is at 7.30am with cycling commencing at 8.00am.

The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) is leading the state’s regions in life-saving organ and tissue donation – an achievement being acknowledged at this Sunday’s Cycle for Life event.

Many people aren’t aware that only around one per cent of deaths occur in the specific circumstances which allow someone to be considered for organ donation,” he said. “Once they know this, 84 per cent of people are more motivated to decide to become an organ and tissue donor. It’s important to share that decision because in Australia, the family of every potential donor is always asked to confirm their loved one’s donation wishes before donation can proceed.

While Northern NSW had low rates of organ donation in previous years, the generosity of those able to donate organs and tissue – and the support of their families – means that the NNSW LHD is now exceeding the state’s average donation rate, leading to more life-saving transplant surgery.

Dr Mike Lindley-Jones, NNSW LHD Organ Donation Specialist, said in 2013 the district had 27.2 donors per million population, nearly double the NSW average of 14.2 donors per million population (DPMP).

“One donor can save or greatly improve the lives of more than 10 people,” Dr Lindley-Jones said, “so I’m thrilled to see that so many locals understand this and are prepared to give the gift of life.”

The Cycle for Life event is a great family day out on the coast with the important purpose of reminding locals to consider signing-up to the Australian Donor Register – and sharing that decision with loved-ones who could be called upon to give final consent.

Participants have two cycle options: a 47-kilometre scenic road cycle, for more experienced cyclists, and a 5-kilometre family cycle along the dedicated cycle path. The event is fully supported with support vehicles and refreshments. Road cyclists will wear DonateLife Cycle jerseys while family cyclists receive specially-designed T-shirts to help raise awareness within the community.

Dr Lindley-Jones said the limited availability of donated organs for transplantation is why everyone needs to know their family members’ donation wishes.

“Many people aren’t aware that only around one per cent of deaths occur in the specific circumstances which allow someone to be considered for organ donation,” he said. “Once they know this, 84 per cent of people are more motivated to decide to become an organ and tissue donor. It’s important to share that decision because in Australia, the family of every potential donor is always asked to confirm their loved one’s donation wishes before donation can proceed.”

Donor family member Kristen Walsham, who is attending Sunday’s Cycle for Life, made a donation to help with the costs of running the event following the loss of a loved one who had required a lung transplant.

“I made a spontaneous decision to donate the funds on the day of my dear Uncle’s death in January, in his memory. My uncle underwent the screening process in late 2013 to potentially receive a lung transplant however; he was not able to join this very special waiting list. One of his last wishes was to assist in any way possible and so, he was able to donate his corneas upon his death,” Ms Walsham said.

A young local recipient who received a liver transplant in 2013, will also ride with the road cyclists and be available to tell his story at the completion of the event.

For more information on organ donation, visit:


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