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AFL players encourage Australians to sign up as donors

Photo: AFL players to promote donating organs
Organ donations in Australia are rising but still very low. Now the AFL has come on board to encourage Australians to sign up as donors.

The AFL and all 18 clubs will urge fans to sign up as organ donors in a new campaign to lift donor rates involving signing up quickly online.

The Organ and Tissue Authority has launched a new online organ donor registration process on its donatelife website.

People can now quickly register to become donors, using a mobile phone or any other device to do so.

The AFL and its players will promote the message to sign up to the online donor registration campaign during DonateLife Week, between July 30 and August 6, which falls across Round 20 of the 2017 season.
Last year 1713 Australians received a transplant, involving 503 deceased and 267 living organ donors and their families.

That is a record high but the numbers are still low with 1400 Australians waiting for a life-saving transplant, said Aged Care and Indigenous Minister Ken Wyatt.

Perth woman and mother of two Michelle Clarke would be blind without the corneal transplants she received in 1994 and 1995.

Unfortunately the transplants have a finite life and her eyesight is deteriorating rapidly, due to the progressive eye disease Keratoconus.

She is again on the wait list for new corneal transplants.

"It was life changing, it's everything and a window to my world, without the corneas I would be blind," she told AAP.

"I wouldn't be able to drive, see my kids, work, I wouldn' be able to do anything.

"Everyone should put themselves down as a donor, to sign up is so easy with the new registry and you can save someone's life."

The number of Australians willing to become an organ and tissue donor is 67 per cent, but the number of registered donors is only 33 per cent, says the Organ and Tissue Authority.

The WA Bone and Tissue Bank PlusLife's managing director Anne Cowie said there was a significant lack of awareness about the value of donating human tissue - as well as organs - which had a negative impact on a family's willingness to consent to donating.

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