The Irish Kidney Association (IKA ) is looking forward to celebrating the annual Organ Donor Awareness Week 2021 with many public sites around the country being lit up in green from Saturday, March 27 until Saturday, April 3.
Whilst many things have been put on pause during the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for organ donation and transplantation continues. Despite the unprecedented challenges which the pandemic has presented, organ transplants have continued thanks to organ donors and their families and also the dedicated transplant teams in our transplanting hospitals, Beaumont, St. Vincent’s, The Mater and Temple Street.
At any one time in Ireland there are between 550 and 600 people on waiting lists for organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas. There was a fall in the number of transplants in 2020 across all the national transplant programmes.
Whilst 190 transplants carried out were 84 less than in 2019, the thoughtfulness of the 62 deceased donors (last year ) in these very challenging times is inspiring.
“Sadly Covid-19 had and continues to have a serious unwelcome impact on the transplant community. Initial medical advice was to cocoon. Suddenly people previously leading a normal life, can no longer attend work or socialise. There was fear and anxiety about the risks amongst patients attending hospitals. This has also been a significant impact on people’s mental health. A number of people in the dialysis and transplant community died with Covid-19, and we would like to express our deep sympathies to their families.”
“A year ago, the 2020 Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign was postponed and ultimately cancelled at short notice when Covid-19 reached our shores. This impacted on the Irish Kidney Association’s ability ‘on the ground’ to promote organ donor awareness and the annual Awareness Week campaign. With Covid-19 still a reality, we have adapted with new ideas for the 2021 awareness campaign,” Ms. Carol Moore, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, said.
This year’s awareness campaign is built around the theme #Life is a Gift Pass it On and Share your Wishes. The key message is that the public can play their part in supporting organ donation for transplantation by ensuring that their families know their wishes.
The words #Life is a Gift, Pass it On represent the transient beauty of the ‘gift of life’ underpinned by the selfless generosity of the human spirit. Share Your Wishes represents the importance of discussion with loved ones about organ donation and sharing your wishes is the cornerstone of the campaign.
During Organ Donor Awareness Week, the Irish Kidney Association will be actively posting messages about organ donation through their various social media channels encouraging the public to share these with their friends to get the country having the organ donation conversation.
Social media hashtags for Organ Donor Awareness Week are: #LifeIsAGift and #DonorWeek21. Individuals can also tag the Irish Kidney Association when doing their own posts (@IrishKidneyAs on Twitter, @IrishKidneyA on Instagram & @IrishKidneyAssociation on Facebook ).
The Irish Kidney Association is encouraging the wider public to show their support for the campaign by organising their own socially distanced awareness activities and challenges.
The Irish Kidney Association welcomes the recent announcement that a national database for organ donation in intensive care units (ICUs ) is due to be implemented this year, according to the National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA ). Improved information around potential organ donors will help inform future public awareness activities as well as developments in hospitals.
Individuals who wish to support organ donation are encouraged to keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s licence and having the ‘digital organ donor card’ APP on their smartphone. Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.