Raising awareness on the importance of organ and tissue donation
Gift of Life Incorporated is a not-for-profit association based in Canberra which aims to promote greater community awareness of the importance of organ and tissue donation and transplantation in the ACT and surrounding region as well as nationally in order to save many more Australian lives.
Our two primary roles are to:
engage with the Australian and ACT governments on related policy issues and
organise major community awareness raising events and activities during the year
Partnership with DonateLife
Gift of Life is a community partner of DonateLife and works closely with the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority and DonateLife ACT in advancing the national DonateLife campaign. We are involved through direct meetings and advisory committees.
We fully support DonateLife’s Discover, Decide, Discuss strategy:
Discover the facts about organ and tissue donation
Decide to become a donor and register
Discuss donation decision with family and friends
Details of the DonateLife program are available on their website – donatelife.gov.au
Gift of Life actively supports efforts to increase the national consent rate for organ and tissue donation and also highlights the importance of people signing on to the Australian Organ Donor Register – donatelife.gov.au. This is a major focus of our annual Walk. In recent years the overall national consent rate has risen substantially from around 50% to over 60% as a result of progress made under the national program. The aim is for it to rise to around 75% in future.
There is now increasing focus on lifting the rate of registration on the Australian Organ Donor Register – because when people have registered and informed their families in advance the consent rate for organ and tissue donation is over 90%. The aim is to lift numbers of people registered to a significantly higher level in future – for example, despite strong (around 80%) community support for organ and tissue donation, in the ACT region only 23% of eligible people have actually registered, the lowest jurisdiction in Australia. We feel the ACT can do much better.
We support the Australian Government’s ‘Opt In’ approach involving close consultation and the concurrence of families in seeking increased numbers of successful donations and transplants in future..
Events and Activities
Our major community event held annually in late February is Gift of Life’s Walk which is sponsored by the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority and the ACT Government. It was held for the 17th time in 2023 and pre-covid it attracted thousands of participants from a range of backgrounds walking across the bridges and around Lake Burley Griffin on a summer’s morning with free t-shirts and hats as well as breakfast provided. The Walk attracts prominent participation as well as wide media coverage. It is now a major Canberra event.
Other special functions were held periodically in the past including the ACT Chief Minister’s Awards for those who have played significant roles in promoting community awareness and, recently, in connection with the opening of the Gift of Life Garden at the National Arboretum Canberra. The Garden was established through close cooperation between Gift of Life and senior Arboretum staff and with financial support from governments and private donors. We also engage in a range of promotion efforts such as information stalls at universities and through talks to schools.
In doing so, we aim to foster the interests of transplant recipients, carers as well as organ donors and their families who make the altruistic and much appreciated decision to offer the ‘gift of life’ to others. We also appreciate the role of those In the medical community who enable the transplant miracle to occur.
Acknowledgement of Country
Gift of Life Inc. acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.