Ulster Council Advice

ULSTER GAA: The gift of organ donation

DID you know that a wee chat and two minutes of your time can save lives?

Ulster GAA has, for many years, been linking with our partners across the island of Ireland to promote organ donation.

Organ donation saves lives and improves the lives of many people, but we can still do more.

Organ donation is when one person chooses to give an organ to save or improve the life of someone who needs a transplant.

You are able to donate some organs while you are alive, for example a kidney, or part of your liver. However, most organ and tissue donations will come from people who have died.

Many people don’t know that anyone can register to donate their organs when they die, regardless of their age or medical conditions.

In the north of Ireland, we have very positive attitudes when it comes to organ donation, with almost a million people (49 per cent) having joined the NHS Organ Donor Register, and many more (nine out of 10 people) who support organ donation. This trend is replicated across all of Ireland.

But unfortunately, there are around 115 people on the transplant waiting list in the north of Ireland, and sadly each year around 10-15 people die awaiting their organ transplant and their gift of life. Many patients describe waiting for a transplant as being in limbo, existing and not living.

For those who have donated and their families who have supported their decision, there is a deep sense of gratitude for the selfless act of organ donation. Many families find a great sense of comfort and pride in organ donation, knowing that their loved one has gone on to save other lives. And when families have had a conversation about organ donation during good times, it makes things much easier for them during a very sad and difficult time.

With all of this in mind, families and friends are being encouraged to talk about organ donation, to sign the Organ Donation Register, and to share their decisions to help save more lives.

Talking to your loved ones about organ donation can help them to understand and support your decision, and whether you choose to be an organ donor or not, your loved ones will be asked to support the decision you record on the Organ Donor Register.

By signing the Organ Donor Register and then having a chat with those close to you could mean the gift of life for up to nine people. That’s an unbelievable gift.

Organ donation saves and transforms thousands of lives each year for patients awaiting a transplant, as well as their family and friends. As GAA clubs we can link in with our relevant service and promote the need for organ donation around our club grounds, and through our social media.

In the GAA we pride ourselves for being at the heart of our communities. With that in mind, there can be no greater act of community spirit than by agreeing to sign the organ donor register, speaking with loved ones, so that if the situation arises whereby our organs can help another person, that the process can go ahead with as little stress and delay as possible for our loved ones.

To find out more about organ donation, or how a club might get involved in promoting this hugely important cause please visit:

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