Donating organs is the biggest of gifts
By MEL MARTIN
JOHN Singleton wants to be certain that when he dies, his organs will be put to good use ? so he's done a lot more than just tick a box on his li- cence. He's had the words 'organ donor' tattooed on his chest. "Giving your organs is the gift of life," John said. "Your organs aren't going to be any good to you when you go, so rather than taking them with you, donating them is the best gift you can possi- bly give anyone. Whatever you do in life, that is it." John has had the tattoo placed on his heart to make sure it is not missed, in the event of his death. "As soon as something hap- pens, no matter what it is, the first thing they look for is your heart, that's why I put it
there," he said. "This way they have a bet- ter chance of getting them quickly." Because John knows his family will ultimately be the ones who decide whether his organs are to be donated, he has also made sure he did the most important thing any do- nor can do ? discuss the issue with them. "I told my family and they gave me their word the wouldn't go against my wishes," he said. "I want to see that law changed because it's like a will, it's basically my last wish, families shouldn't be able to go against that. "So many donors are get- ting lost." He would also like the gov- ernment to undertake more awareness raising about organ donations, as he believes lack
of understanding brings fear. "Towards the end of high school, they should send a sur- geon to give talks and explain what it entails, to take the fear away," he said. All John hopes is that more people will sign on as organ donors ? although he'll under- stand if they don't go as far as having it permanently in- printed on their skin. "You read about so many people who need organs, like Suzanne (Carruthers, featured in the Advocate Wednesday August 9), it's like putting a chain on somebody. "Even if you're not saving someone's life, you can give them a better quality of life." n To register as an organ do- nor, call the Australian Organ Donor Register on 1800 777 203, pick up a form from your Medicare office or visit www.medicareaustralia.gov.au.