Organ Donation and the Dog: Starting the Conversation

This is a hard blog to write with my heart clenching in my chest, and not because anything’s wrong – thank you for asking – but because of two simple words, ‘Organ Donation’. They make my innards squirm.

I am not against it, by the way, but we’re talking about a confronting topic, aren’t we? You’ve felt it, I know!

DISCOVER

Thank you Max
‘Max’ by Julie

On 23 February, I trudged through the puddles of Parramatta into ICE for the FilmLife filmmaking workshop (designed to create awareness of organ and tissue donation through creativity). With the above mindset, you bet I felt uneasy, no thanks to the rain. I kept asking myself, Do I want to donate my organs? Wouldn’t that be weird?

During the workshop, we spoke with people directly involved with organ and tissue donation, including recipients like Max, whose story gave me hope.

Before his transplant, Max led an interesting but inactive life. Now years after his transplant, his life has changed completely. He dropped his corporate job and inactive lifestyle and took up exercise, including contact sports and the Transplant Games, completing 5km runs and winning 9 gold medals. He works as a personal trainer and speaks at events like FilmLife to inspire others to live it up and spread more positivity into the world. Max believes in a ‘positive ripple effect’ that occurs through organ transplantation, spreading more gratitude for life around the place. He wants to do everything he can to give back, because he is “so lucky to be here,” he says.

Sure, organ donation is weird in some way, but for Max, receiving a new liver gave him his life back and better than before, and it’s not just benefited him, it’s also influenced others like myself.

DECIDE

There’s some good meat inside me, I’m sure. Fit organs that live a healthy life in the body of a lass who’s positive about life, so why wouldn’t I want to give them away? Perhaps I do. Decisions aren’t entirely my forte.

It’s confronting on many levels. However, if it were to come down to my own loved one being 1 of 1600 people on the waiting list for an organ, I’d drop my own organs in a second if it would save their life.

So for now, I’ll think on it.

DISCUSS

Even before making any sort of decision, I managed to start the conversation with my parents, which went a little like this:

– ‘Old girl, she’ll probably die soon.’ Mum said, looking at Bronte.

– ‘Should we ask her if she wants to donate her organs?’ I laughed.

– Dad piped up, ‘It’d have to be her stomach!’*

You mightn’t guess that we were talking about my dog’s impending mortality, which ended up with the question: ‘But seriously though, would you want to donate your organs, Julie?’

Realising I’d be dead anyway, it would be nice for my innards to help up to 10 people have a new lease of life. I replied, ‘Perhaps I might. Would you?’

My dog
‘Bronte’ by Julie

That’s all for now,
Julie

*Just joshing! The stomach is not on the list. In Australia, you can donate the following organs: heart, kidney, lungs, and pancreas; and the following tissues: heart valves and pericardium, corneal and eye tissue, bone and related musculoskeletal tissue and skin.

For interest, see The Conversation’s Organ Donation Topic, here.

“Make your wish count. Discover, decide and discuss organ and tissue donation.”



56 thoughts on “Organ Donation and the Dog: Starting the Conversation

  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog and liking my post.

    Discussion on donating Bronte’s organs… That is an interesting way to start a family conversation on this topic!

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  2. Well my friend… from a spiritual perspective I understand that there is memory in the cells, so by receiving an organ we also receive some of their memories, as well as some of their likes and dislikes. I’m all for organ donations, I just like to look beyond the face of things.
    My Grandfather, my father’s father Dr George Davis Snell, split the Nobel prize with a gentleman from France, and between the two of them they did all the genetic research that has made organ transplant possible. [My family tree is FULL of connections like this.] My Grandfather was a quiet, kept to himself kind of guy. In his hometown [Bar Harbor, Maine] he was more known for his garden than his research.
    Thank you for this post, and for reminding me of those wondrous connections.
    Blessings…

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    1. Hi Christopher, thank you for this comment, how amazing! Yeah, well I feel that you would be truly giving a part of you/your life/your memories though I have nothing entirely to prove that. And I think that’s the reason I find it so bizarre. Interesting.

      Wow! That’s really intense, Christopher. Amazing connections.

      Thank you 🙂

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  3. Years ago when -my then partner- got a brain hemorrhagic and straight away went into a coma-which never to wake up from again-That is what the doctors said,then the next day they asked for the eyes! A shock to all, those beautiful black eyes! The family totally in shock and crippled with sadness said no.
    Now many years later seeing two of my best friends, after they both received new kidneys, and regaining after many intense years of dialysis and what not, a happy and healthy life together with their partners, children, family and friends, my mind is easily made up. I’ve become a donor myself. Also from my own spiritual view, our bodies are only conduits whilst alive, after that we’re energy!
    Great post Julie!

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    1. What I basically wanted to say in my comment, is that we should respect everyone’s feelings to either want to be a donor, or not. whatever the reason, as it is such an unreal scenario, until the moment becomes a reality. Love and light to all, Pina

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    2. Wow, Pina. That’s very intense for you. It would be very sad and strange to think about, and surely especially upon seeing someone you love leave the world (and I don’t mean any insensitivity with this comment). This is a really inspiring story, Pina. Thank you for sharing it and your spiritual view – helps me a lot. And about your other comment: we really do need to respect everyone’s feelings about organ & tissue donation, undoubtedly. Much love x

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