2021 Gift of Life's DonateLife virtual Walk - Thank you !
Our Walk happened a little differently this time...
In 2021, unable to hold our 15th traditional Walk around Lake Burley Griffin due to COVID-19, we instead went virtual. We encouraged everyone in the ACT region and across Australia to take the next step during the week 22-28 February to organise their own walk up to 5 km anywhere, anytime in teams with family, friends or colleagues or as an individual. Our branded merchandise was worn to great effect.
Our aim is to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation, to encourage more people to register on the national organ donor register and to have the conversation with their families. We know that letting your family know your wishes can make a massive difference at a very difficult time.
On behalf of the Gift of Life Inc. Board, I would like to thank over 3000 people from the ACT region, Australia and overseas who signed up to walk. The support was incredible, I met some amazing people and heard many stories (mostly heart-warming and some heart-breaking).
In particular, I thank Federal Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton and ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith for their funding support, their time and for sharing their stories.
We also received tremendous support from the Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Organ and Tissue Donation Dr Anne Webster and Dr Mike Freelander, The Hon Mark Butler MP gave his support as did a number of other MPs and Senators. ACT Ministers giving their time and voices included Tara Cheyne and Emma Davidson.
I also sincerely thank Lucinda Barry CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority, and the DonateLife, DonateLifeACT and Canberra Health Services teams who provided additional support and resources for all our activities during the week.
For a successful walk we relied on social media to start the conversations. Professional film makers Mick and Dom O'Donnell produced a series of video interviews of personal stories, messages of support and information on organ and tissue donation. They have their own personal story and volunteered their time and expertise. You can click on the links to the videos below (also hosted on our Facebook and Instagram pages.). Stand by for the final video of highlights of the week.
Participation from schools was again incredible. With personal connections and a long history of being involved in the Walk, St Clare's had 503 students participate, Merici students numbered over 300 and they hosted the 104.7 Ned and Josh breakfast program. Canberra Girls Grammar had 2 houses and over 250 students walk on their oval. We also welcomed enthusiastic involvement from St Mary MacKillop College (a year 11 initiative) and Daramalan College. We hope to build on our relationships with schools in coming years.
Of course all this wouldn't have been possible without our volunteer Board, especially our Walk Committee, Mallie, David, Nic, Graham, Clem and Geoff.
To help the team with social media and comms we brought in Monica from Big Bang Social, who did an amazing job.
Please consider subscribing to receive updates over the year. If you have a personal connection or would simply like to be involved in a volunteer capacity let us know.
Highlights of our 2021 Walk
National Launch at Australian Parliament House on 17 February 2021
The Hon Mark Coulton MP, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon Hon Mark Butler MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing spoke at National Launch of the Annual Walk 2021 - virtual. The event was hosted by the Co Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Organ and Tissue donation, Dr Anne Webster and Dr Mike Freelander. It was great to see a number of members of Parliament who are also Parliamentary Friends and Lucinda Barry, CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority and her team.
ACT Launch in Civic Square 22 February 2021
Rachel Stephen-Smith, ACT Minister for Health and Lucinda Barry, CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority officially launched our COVID safe annual walk this morning 22 February in Civic Square ACT. Special thanks to Greg Bayliss for MCing again this year. We thank everyone who was able to join us.
The Governor-General, Mrs Hurley and the GG team
Everybody was doing the virtual Gift of Life's DonateLife Walk 2021.
Including Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Mrs Hurley and the GG team.
Some of our Walkers in the ACT and across Australia
Media and Social Media
Videos - by Mick and Dom O'Donnell
Merici - 24 February 2021
Interview with 104.7 Ned and Josh breakfast program - Renee, Merici
Interview with 104.7 Ned and Josh breakfast program - Cath, Gift of Life
St Mary MacKillop College video - 26 February
(film produced by year 11 student Tadiwa)
Special thanks to our Media Partner, the Riot ACT and Region Media for launching our social media campaign and their coverage of the Walk.
Television and Radio
2CC Breakfast with Stephen Cenatiempo
We're grateful to our sponsors and supporters for their support
2021 Walk sponsor
2021 Funding support
2021 Digital Media Partner Media Monitoring
Continuing the conversation
Walkers are encouraged to upload their photos and videos and show their support through social media sharing. Social image frames are available to help build awareness of the Walk and the cause – organ and tissue donation.
Find flyers and other downloadables so you can share the word easier - click here to find more.
For up to date COVID-19 guidelines visit the ACT Government website.
History of the Walk and Photo Gallery