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Sign on to save lives.

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SIGN ON TO SAVE LIVES 11 October 2005

Federal Member for McPherson Margaret May has challenged employers to allow employees time off work to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Margaret is spearheading a Gold Coast push to raise awareness about organ donation and is encouraging people to sign on to save lives.

"I encourage people to get behind this initiative and challenge employers to give their staff time off work to sign up.

"By signing on to the register, you could be giving some of the 1,600 people on the Organ Donor waiting list a second chance at life.

"We have a low donor rate in Australia and this low rate is attributed to the fact that we don't talk openly and freely about such things as death and organ donation.

"Nevertheless we have a fantastic organ transplant success rate in Australia, one of the best in the world.

"Last year on the Gold Coast eight people donated their organs. One organ donor has the potential to help 10 people and Australia-wide 218 Australians donated organs, benefiting some 785 transplant recipients.

"Organs that can be donated are heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas while the tissues include eye tissue, bone tissue and heart valves and there is no age limit on the donation of some organs and tissue.

"People can no longer record their donor intention on Queensland drivers' licences, that's why it's so important to sign on to the register if you want to donate your organs.

"Over five million Australians are registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register yet a person has 10 times greater chance of requiring an organ or tissue transplant than of becoming a donor.

"One recent organ recipient is Chris Wills from Mount Tamborine who had a combined lung and heart transplant in February of this year (after spending 11 days on the waiting list)! Chris has Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic degenerative disease.

"Thirty eight year old Chris already had done remarkably well because people born with Cystic Fibrosis have a life expectancy of 28 years. The disease affects mainly the lungs and digestive system with the lungs clogging up with mucous making it extremely difficult for oxygen from the air to be transported into the blood stream. Before the operation Chris had 22 per cent lung capacity. Now he has over 100 per cent lung capacity AND THE LUNGS AREN'T PRODUCING MUCOUS!!!!!

"Prior to the operation, Chris was on an oxygen bottle and could not walk for 50m and was so short of breath he had to walk around in thongs as he couldn't put his work boots on.

"Two months post-op Chris walked 7.5 kms in the Gold Coast marathon (coming second in his field) and now coaches cricket teams and plays golf.

"Only in hospital for 10 days, he has made a fantastic recovery.

"Chris has been given a second chance at life.

"Thursday the 27th of October is the day that Medicare Offices around Gold Coast City are promoting organ donation and I'll be signing on to save lives at the Medicare Office at the Pines, Elanora.

"Residents are also very welcome to obtain registration forms from my office by calling 5525 0688.

"I can't stress enough though that if you decide to register on to the Australian Organ Donor Register, its really important to discuss your wishes with your loved ones", Margaret said.