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Fourteen people personally affected by organ and tissue donation will participate in RoofClimb Adelaide Oval to commence a week of activities in DonateLife Week 2018.

DonateLife Week 2018 (29 July – 5 August) is the national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation in Australia and the AFL announced yesterday Round 19 will be DonateLife Round nationally.

In 2017, 1,675 Australians received a lifesaving transplant thanks to the generosity of 510 deceased and 273 living organ donors and their families.  There are around 1,400 Australians currently waitlisted for a transplant at any one time, and a further 11,000 people on dialysis of which many would benefit from a kidney transplant.

The RoofClimb will take place on Saturday 28 July prior to the Adelaide v Melbourne match. The climb participants include six family members of deceased organ donors, a living kidney donor, as well as transplant recipients who received the gift of a heart, liver, kidney, lungs or cornea. Six of the participants are from donor families who made the generous decision to support their loved one’s wishes to become an organ donor in a time of tragedy. They will climb alongside five recipients who received a life-saving organ transplant, including a 37 year old liver recipient; a 38 year old who has just undergone his second kidney transplant in May this year; and a 44 year old heart recipient who gave up a basketball career at 19 due to a serious heart condition.  Also participating is a living kidney donor and his partner, who took part in the Australian Kidney Exchange, in which a kidney donation exchange took place with another matched pair.

Liver transplant recipient Jana Matysek said that while waiting for a new liver, she wasn’t able to work or live the life a young person should live.

“I suffered from a rare liver condition called PSC, diagnosed when I was 12. Unfortunately it’s a progressive disease and I developed cirrhosis which caused liver failure. I had to move back in with my parents and rely on them for emotional/ physical and financial support. Eight weeks after my transplant I was starting to feel really well and my recovery since then has been amazing! I am now back at work, I am able to go out with friends/family and do all the things I enjoy, said Jana.

“I am truly grateful for the second chance that this new liver has given me and I am the biggest advocate for organ donation. It’s the best gift anyone could ever give!  I’m so excited to do the RoofClimb which I could never have imagined prior to my transplant.  I am honoured to be climbing alongside donor families who have given others like me a second chance at life.”

Jackie will undertake RoofClimb with her daughter Celia in honour of her late husband, who donated his organs in 2016.

“My husband had registered as an organ donor and when we were faced with devastating news of his loss, we knew without a doubt it would be what he wanted to do, said Jackie.   We are incredibly proud as a family that three people who were gravely ill now have a chance of a longer life thanks to his generous gift.”

Adelaide Oval SMA CEO Andrew Daniels said the organisation is proud to be supporting such an important cause.

“Everyone passing through the Adelaide Oval gates has the chance to make a real difference in the life of someone who is waiting for an organ or tissue transplant so we’re hoping our involvement in DonateLife Week will encourage all our patrons to register their donation decision,” Mr Daniels said.

“We’re delighted that 14 people who have been personally affected by organ and tissue donation, will have the opportunity to take part in RoofClimb as part of the AFL DonateLife Round. It’s sure to be an experience they’ll never forget”.

During DonateLife Week, the Adelaide Oval, River Torrens footbridge and Adelaide Town Hall will be lit up in the DonateLife’s colour of magenta to highlight organ donation.  There will be opportunities to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register at several locations including the Adelaide Central Market Arcade, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Service SA centres and Adelaide University Medical Health & Science building.

Only 66% of South Australians have registered their donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register. At the same time, sixty-five percent would accept a life-saving transplant. The majority of South Australians (93%) are confident their partner or family members would uphold their donation decision in the event of their death, yet only sixty-two percent have discussed the topic of organ donation with their families.

The gift of organ and tissue donation gives recipients a second chance at experiencing all of the love, joy and adventure that life has to offer. Thousands of Australians and their families are benefiting from the generosity of organ and tissue donors and their families.

During DonateLife Week, all South Australians are urged to make their decision count, by registering their donation decision and discussing their decision with their loved ones. Visit today to register online.