Dying to Live: #havethechat about organ donation for #D2KDay

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Knowing about organ and tissue donation is an important part of Death Literacy. In fact, when you #HaveTheChat about your organ donor status, it's a great way to get into the conversation we all know we want to have with our family members!

Groundswell and Dying to Know Day are proud supporters of the documentary Dying to Live. It’s a film that takes you into the lives of seven ordinary Australians whose transplant journeys force them to make every day count.

While transplant rates are improving, Australia remains well behind similar countries and this film’s brave participants ask why, amplifying a long-overdue debate. Australia is 17th in the world for organ donation... our rate is less than 50% of the world's best, far lower than it should be! The people who appear in Dying to Live are the conduit to uncovering the complex web of reasons why Australians don’t appear to understand the urgency and process of registering as donors. This fearful wait on ‘death row’ not only consumes the patients themselves, but ripples out into their families, friends, colleagues and the wider community. Dying to Live takes the audience on a powerful emotional journey as we are compelled to consider our own compassionate capacity for physical philanthropy.

Australia urgently needs more registered donors: many of us don’t even realise that the old system of registering on your driver’s license was abolished in most states, and we now need to sign up via the official website. Despite surveys showing that over 80% of Aussies think it’s important to register, the actual registration rate hovers around 34%. And since less than 2% of Australians die in hospital in the particular circumstances in which donation can occur, we need as many people registered as possible! This shortfall leaves over 1,400 people continually on the transplant waiting list, and 15% of them will die waiting.

How much of this problem simply comes down to the necessity of talking about your wishes with your family? Quite a lot! In Australia, your family has the final say about whether your organs will ultimately be donated. 90% of donations go ahead when the donor has officially registered; this drops to 73% if the donor hasn't registered but has remembered to #HaveTheChat with their family, and falls to just 44% if the donor is not registered and their family doesn't know their wishes. In a world where ‘zero wait’ is achievable (as other countries have demonstrated), it’s simply unacceptable, and morally troubling, for us not to offer this chance at life for thousands of Australians living in fear and helplessness, yet always with hope.

The Guardian named Dying to Live as *one of the top ten Australian films to see in 2018*

We are putting the call out to Melbourne groups that could potentially run a community screening of Dying to Live in the future.  We have limited tickets to give away for the premier screenings at the Melbourne International Film Festival Aug 14 and the Victorian Premiere on Aug 16. If you reckon you're up for hosting a screening in the future and you can make one of the premier screenings then get in touch with Jessie@thegroundswellproject.com for your tickets!

See Dying to Live: 

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This blog is part of the ‘Did You Know?’ blog series where D2KDay is bringing to life conversations and information around death, dying and bereavement.