Organ donating is an odd topic for me, and if I find it odd then I imagine a lot of you do too. I have never cared about the ‘icky’ side of things. My body parts are not needed by me when I pass on. What I saw growing up, was the human race making a mess of things and all we did was try to prolong our lives. The damage humans cause is terrible, and I didn’t see why we deserved to live longer. People dying was nature’s way of population control. I was a very contemplative teenager.
I would like to say this was the only reason, but if I am truly honest with myself I was scared. I have grown up with death being a very real factor of my life. My father died when I was 3 years old, and that kind of brings reality home. To contemplate organ donating meant I had to confront death. I also had to deal with issues that children especially get when a parent dies. Children are selfish, not always in a bad way, but for me it was always a question of – why should someone I don’t know get another chance when my father didn’t? This wasn’t a conscious thought, but buried deep down and I had to dig for it over years.
My theories evolved as I got older. I became a father myself, and although I still believed as I had when I was younger, I started to realize I was being hypocritical. I wasn’t ready to do an about turn then, but I made the concession that I would be honest. I didn’t believe in it, but if I was faced with my daughter or son needing a transplant, then I would have to agree to do it. It was hard to look at things in this way. It is constantly my aim to be a better person, and to live with a contradiction like this was troubling, but I now realize it for what it was. Fear.
I am now in a position where a good friend and work colleague is working his ass off to raise three children between 6 and 9, while holding down a full-time job and running a household. His partner is sick. She is on the waiting list for a lung transplant. She struggles to breathe on a daily basis and is often hospitalized. I can no longer stick to my childish beliefs; these illnesses concern more than just the person that is ill.
This lovely woman is fighting for her life; not just for her, but for her partner, and especially so she can watch her children grow up to be fine adults. If I were to stick to my childish beliefs, I am potentially robbing children of their parents too early, robbing parents of their children. I cannot be that person.
So I declare today I am an organ donor!
Tomorrow I will be participating in a Sausage Sizzle at the Bell Block Warehouse in New Plymouth. It is organised by Ricoh Taranaki as a fundraiser and building awareness for organ donating. Last year there were only 53 viable organ donations for the whole of New Zealand. People are dying because we refuse to let our organs go to help someone when we no longer need them. So I encourage you, if you are in the New Plymouth area, come down and say “Hi”. Grab a sausage and help a fantastic cause.