Friday, February 27, 2009

Sorry for the rather large delay in posting but I do have a good reason...
Normal Service will be resumed shortly. Once I've come back down to earth.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reading this blog is bringing tears of joy to my eyes at the moment.

So very happy for them.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thank you so much for all your feedback and opinions on the comment posted by “Dave.” As promised, here are my opinions and the reasons behind them.

The idea of LifeSharers – the business which was promoted in this comment section here is an American organization which effectively asks people to sign up as members of a group which wants to only donate their organs to fellow LifeSharers. Their reasoning is that this way, people who are signed up on the ODR will be prioritized, which according to them is the way it should be.

It’s a very interesting theory. Basically utilizing a principle of exclusion - “if you don’t then I won’t help you” attitude rather than leading by example.

I can see the idea behind it. The desperation which those waiting for transplant feel when thinking “if you needed this transplant you’d sure as hell be more proactive about carrying a card” but the iea and the reality are extremely different and this principle is not workable in real life.

LifeSharers claims “There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die... Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors.”

This doesn’t really make any sense. The only way that would happen is if the law was changed to say that you could only receive an organ if registered as a donor. Which is not the case; this instead is a small group of already pro-organ donation people who have agreed to prioritize each other, not a national movement which will cause a shift in mentality.

The group claims “It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.”

Again, I do see where they are coming from. That frustration and anger definitely hit me when I was waiting; knowing that people who would shun the idea of signing up giving something like squeamishness as a reason would have the same priority as me, but that was merely a desperation to survive, fear of not making it. In reality, I feel Organ Donation has to remain a freely given gift. The minute you start attaching conditions it becomes something else.

Other than any ethical issues, the system itself is simply not workable. Emma and Jac in particular have made some great observations on this on the comments section; do have a look at all comments if you can. You might find it hard to believe that some people don’t know how to register or even understand what organ donation is, but every time I do another talk, I meet people that don’t fully understand it all, even though if they sat down and thought about it and knew what to do, they’d probably be willing to donate.

Some of the comments on this very blog have exposed myths still believed within the transplant community. Just to clear those up now: anyone can sign up as a donor – it’s up to the medical team to decide whether the organs are viable. It is not helpful not to sign up because you suspect your organs would not be useable. All the major religions support organ donation. Those infected with HIV cannot be organ donors.

Organ donation is so complex, with so many issues and questions, myths and facts, that if we cannot clearly define it how can we judge people who have not had any personal experience and assume they know enough to be signed up or to miss out?

And on a more emotional level, I just don’t like the idea of it. I find it somewhat spiteful and selfish, and completely contradictory to everything that, to me, organ donation represents; giving, selflessness, bravery, generosity…a gift.

Do keep the feedback coming if you still have opinions on this one; I find it all very interesting indeed.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Click on the comments page of the below post and read the comment, sorry, advertisment by "Dave"

Very interested on your opinions on this "solution" to the problem of organ shortages.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

So I went to see Seven pounds at the weekend.

I haven’t blogged about it yet as I wanted to let it all settle first. I did actually wake up that night thinking about it. If you haven’t seen the film but want to, don’t read the rest of this post as it contains spoilers.

The premise is that the main character (Will Smith) wants to set out to help seven strangers. Organ Donation is the overriding theme of the film. Rather than lay out the storyline I’m just going to assume readers have seen it and talk about my reactions to it.

Firstly I must state; it is not a perfect film. There are inaccuracies, twee parts, unnecessary elements and errors from a person-who-studied-film-at-uni perspective. However my main interest (and reason for going to see it) was to see the handling of the organ donation content.

The main female character Emily had the most impact on me. Same name only highlighted further the similar circumstances she portrayed, and I found her convincing to the point of feeling my toes curl when certain gasps of breath or looks of fatigue took me sharply back to my past.The film is one filled with sadness and pain. Organ Donation, whilst the predominant thread, is not the only subject matter here; psychological issues and coping with loss and guilt are also explored.

But back to Organ Donation. Overall I think it was handled well as a subject. It was taken for granted that the viewer comprehended the severity of the donor shortage but I think the lack of weighty facts made it stronger by making it less preachy. Emily’s predicament was striking and could only really create a feeling of empathy and sadness from anyone watching.

I'd probably say that from my perspective, the best bit about it was the insight given into Emily’s ordeal. Because of this I think a great many people have been given an insight into life on the list; not a wholly accurate one, but a good one nevertheless.As I say, the film is a sad one, and by the end I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face. Part of that was due to the plot and where it was going, part of it was reliving extracts from my past as they were played out on the screen. It made me think a great deal about my donor and their family. A lot of my sobs were for them.

I’m glad I went to see it, I’m glad it was made, and I’m very glad Will Smith took the role as it has heightened the Film’s profile a great deal. But I found it so very emotional...I don’t think I could watch it again anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Glorious, wonderful, exciting, childish snow.

It started on Sunday night, with a thin sprinkling settling by the time I was leaving my parents house.

Waking up on Monday morning and looking out of the window made me feel as if I was five again. The overwhelming joy at seeing almost knee-deep snow was ridiculous. Obviously as A and I are mature adults, we built a snowbear before walking/sliding to the local park to join my family, where my even more mature parents were sledging down the hillside.

As I was carefully forming the muzzle of our snowbear it struck me - as it often does at random times - how I might never have seen this day, and how my family might have been laughing and hurtling themselves down the hillside without me. But I'm here and had the most fantastic time, and tried to make the very most out of it that I possibly could. For my donor as well as for me.

It really was a wonderful day.