Organ donation in South Africa – what you need to know

My friend Fawn Rogers is alive because of an organ donor. After being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at a very young age, a few years back Fawn had less than 20% lung function left. I’ll be honest, at the time I didn’t know Fawn all that well. We’d chatted on social media and had mutual friends. I remember the phone call from one of them. Fawn was in ICU and the conversation was grim. Everyone was preparing for the worst. And then a text message came through: Fawn was getting new lungs. While I’m well aware that transplants aren’t always successful and the surgery and recovery are concerning times – I never felt any of that with Fawn. I just knew she’d be okay and this was going to be her second chance.

We met a few times after that at events and had a few coffees and dinners together. Fawn is now engaged to one of my oldest and closest friends. She knew me before “Tech Girl” was a thing and she knows the insecure weird girl who has sometimes made bad relationships decisions and slept off drunken nights on her couch.

I was an organ donor from the age of 19

My mom was always registered as an Organ Donor (she had a sticker on her driver’s license – I remember wanting that sticker as a kid). So registering, for me, was a no brainer. However, I’m not sure many people actually realise the importance of organ donation or the huge problems South Africa faces regarding identifying and referring potential donors. Did you know that even if you’re registered as an organ donor, your surviving family has the final say in whether or not your organs are permitted to be donated?

Do you know how to ensure the necessary paperwork is in place now, to stop something like this happening when you’ve passed away? Has your doctor ever spoken to you about considering organ donation? Have you ever wondered why they haven’t spoken to you? All these questions….

Let’s talk about TELL

TELL is a new nonprofit organisation started by my friend Fawn and two other incredible women. Two of the three founders have had lung transplants. So they’re able to give support and advice understanding the process from start to finish. TELL stands for Transplant Education for Living Legacies and aims to start conversations around organ donation. Education is the first step. TELL will facilitate a means to help you communicate with your loved ones your wishes to donate your organs while also opening dialogue with medical professionals in the hope to increase the current organ donors list in South Africa.

So why am I writing this?

Because to start a movement you just need to TELL someone. Today, all I ask, is that you follow TELL on Facebook or Twitter. The official launch of the organisation is tomorrow evening and a conversation will begin. Let’s start by joining it. Step 1 on our road to helping more people like me ensure their friends aren’t taken too soon. And inspirational women like Fawn are able to shine as bright as they can without a time limit.

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