Yesterday I was checking my phone and a news alert come up on News24 regarding the shortage of organ donors in South Africa and how the interest in becoming a donor is declining.

This reminded me to write this article.  You see, about 10 days ago I became and organ and tissue donor when I participated in their 5km “Proud 2 Be” walk.  Granted, I took part because the route was one of my favourite places on this planet running along Sea Point promenade from Mouille Point lighthouse to the swimming pool and back.

The walk cost R100 and the proceeds go to the Organ Donor Foundation. It seems like everything was sponsored from the T-shirts, to the water and cold drinks provided. I was very impressed with the support that they generated for the running costs of the event, including a myriad of prizes for a lucky draw at the end of the race. 

I dragged my husband along (almost unwillingly) for a brisk morning walk along the promenade – the fresh air was blowing lightly from the sea to keep us cool and was totally invigorating.  What a stunning day it was!

We donned our “Proud 2 Be an organ donor” maroon T-shirts and off we went.  Sea Point promenade was invaded by organ donor enthusiasts – an excellent way to create awareness of such an important cause! I don’t think anyone could miss us!  Much fun was had by all and in the end, the walk was more like 5.5km than 5km but we didn’t mind. 

At the end of the race, they had some fantastic prizes to hand out including an iPhone and a tablet (no, we didn’t win anything).  All those who were either an organ donor or someone who had benefited from an organ donation or were on the waiting list were introduced to us and we heard a little bit about their stories.  It is amazing how a donation of an organ can change someone’s quality of life, and my eyes were opened regarding the struggle that simple things in life can be if you are in need of an organ donation.

Their stories inspired me to sign up as an organ donor and I am really glad I did.  It was a very easy process – I filled out a form, ticked some boxes and became a donor. No blood tests or approvals needed.  The most important thing is to make sure my family understands my wishes should anything happen to me.

Did you know that you can save up to 7 lives if you donate one heart, one liver, one pancreas, two kidneys and two lungs?

What’s stopping you from signing up?  Do you have a fear of losing something or not qualifying?  Don’t be afraid.  You can be a living donor and you can stipulate that your organs are donated after your death.

To learn more about becoming an organ and / or tissue donor today, visit their website

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Here are some other interesting articles about organ donation – including some success stories to inspire you: