This DonateLife Week, the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) is encouraging Hawkesbury residents to register as organ donors because they could save lives.
New data from the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) shows Hawkesbury is falling behind in the number of residents aged 15 and over who are registered as organ donors, at almost 10 per cent lower than neighbouring LGA the Blue Mountains.
The data estimated that 45 per cent of eligible Hawkesbury residents were registered as organ donors at the end of 2021.
The top-five NSW LGAs were Bellingen (55 per cent), Blue Mountains (54 per cent), Mosman (54 per cent), Ballina (53 per cent) and Eurobodalla (53 per cent).
NBMLHD Clinical Nurse Consultant Organ and Tissue Donation, Jodie Cowell, said just one organ donor could save the lives of as many as seven people and many more could be helped through tissue and eye donation.
"Right now there are around 1,750 Australians waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. A further 13,000 are on dialysis and may benefit from a kidney transplant," Ms Cowell said.
"The best thing you can do to help those that are waiting for a life-saving transplant is to register as an organ and tissue donor.
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"It's never been more important to encourage people to register as an organ and tissue donor, and to talk to their family about donation."
While 2021 was a record-breaking year for new registrations with around 350,000 Australians joining the AODR, up 87 per cent on 2020, the organisers of DonateLife Week are hoping more can be done this DonateLife Week to boost registration rates.
Danielle Fisher, General Manager, NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, said the biggest barrier to families saying 'yes' to donation was not knowing their family member wanted to be a donor.
"In hospital, discussing organ and tissue donation comes at an intensely emotional time for families - usually when faced with the unexpected death of their loved one," Ms Fisher said.
"When donation is possible, it helps when families know what their loved one wanted. Across Australia, 9 in 10 families say yes to donation when their loved one was a registered donor, and this number is halved when a person is not registered and has not shared their wishes with their family."
It only takes around one minute to sign up and help save lives. To register go to donatelife.gov.au or register via your Medicare app in just a few taps.