What is the purpose of life? Some people live for their children, some people live for themselves, and others live for the promise of a happy afterlife. Whatever your outlook on life, there is one certainty: We will all shuffle off this mortal coil eventually. The physical body will return to the earth, to dust. What is the purpose of the human body? It is arguably the most complex machine on earth. Every single organ, bone, and tissue, serves a purpose. The body keeps us moving, keeps the blood pumping, and cleans out toxins.
Everyone can agree that the human body is amazing. It is so amazing that it can give the gift of life, in many ways. Giving birth is one of those ways, and giving your organs is another. The sad reality is that the majority of South Africans are not willing to pay their organs forward, to benefit others. I was shocked to see a press release in my inbox recently, which contained the results of a survey, conducted by the Organ Donor Foundation. It found that 80% of South Africans will accept a life-saving organ, but 80% will NOT donate theirs.
It seems a shame that your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and pancreas only has one chance to shine, on this merry-go-round of life, when it can help prolong the life of 7 individuals after you’ve left this earth. However, it does not stop at organs.
Your tissue, from your skin to your corneas, can help improve the lives of 50 others.
The Organ Donor Foundation says the need for organs and tissue is becoming a national tragedy. They say more than 4300 people are currently waiting for life-saving organs, but the majority will not be helped, because of the low rate of donations.
For this reason, the Foundation, and its volunteers are on a drive this Organ Donor Month, to engage with communities, to ask why they do not want to donate their organs. It forms part of their ULUNTU Project, whose goal is to visit the millions of people who live in marginalised and vulnerable communities to educate them about organ and tissue donation in order to drive consent.
It might seem like a daunting and macabre decision to make, but it takes a few minutes to sign up online and once you have the discussion with your family, you might discover you have inspired them to “SAY YES” to organ donation. By saying YES you could give an only living parent another chance to look after their children, give a future to a child, and added years with family to a sister or brother.
Your legacy could live on for years after your gone; your body can give the gift of life, seven times over! I’m proud to say that I am an organ donor, and I’ve even inspired my husband to sign up!
So have a heart, give your heart, and visit www.odf.org.za to leave the ultimate legacy.
Liesl Smit – Senior Reporter and Anchor, Smile90.4 FM News