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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Take My Organs... Maybe

Recently Laura met my parents and naturally we ended up talking about death and organ donation.

I have never liked the idea of organ donation. I felt that if you were an organ donor then medical staff would let you die quicker and make less effort to keep you alive because your organs can be used again. Plus knowing that there has to be a quick turnaround with taking and using the organs made me very apprehensive about the whole thing.

The first time I really thought about this any differently was when I saw the Will Smith film 'Seven Pounds'. The film is based on or leads to (I can't remember the whole film) Will's character taking his own life and donating his organs to seven different people.

This film was properly the first time I had ever really thought about the positive, life changing side of organ donation.

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That moment sat dormant, I don't remember doing anything. I may have looked into organ donation, but nothing seriously. Then a few weeks ago, when Laura was meeting dad, we got talking about death and organ donation, I mean, obviously right.

Just talking about it with people I care about and respect was a really good experience and allowed me to actually think about what I wanted. I realised that I had kind of fallen into the thought process that I didn't want to register, but I would be willing to be on a 'default' register. I think this may have been in my mind because I had heard that our system maybe changing to an 'opt out' rather than 'opt in' organ donation. So a kind of lazy non thought about decision really.

However, once I started to think about it I realised a couple of things.

1. I don't know when we are changing to that system, and/ or if that will be affected by the ongoing farce that is Brexit.

2. I do want to take the opportunity to make my own decision. If I was going to register, I wanted to do it myself. Not because Government had decided for me, and it was up to me to opt out.

So, I have been looking into organ donation for the last two weeks and given my decision some thought. I was prompted by the chat with Dad and with Laura, but also by the fact this week (3rd to 9th September) is Organ Donation Week. The week is focused on campaigning to promote public awareness about organ donation and transplant, encouraging people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and encouraging people to share their donation decision with their family and friends.

My depression means I have thought about my own death much more in recent years. Personally I think the discussions I have had around my mental health has helped me to think about what I actually want to happen to my body when I do die.

Importantly, it has also helped me to value myself and protect myself to some extent, because I am protecting things (body parts) that may change someones life in the future.

I accept this isn't a traditional or PR friendly promotion for talking organ donation. But I will take anything I can get to feel better about, value and protect myself. Plus I get to know I could help change someones life for the better.

I will be using this week to talk about considering organ donation, whatever your decision, make it your choice.

Then let people know. Talk about it. Make it easy for those you leave behind to know what you wanted. And if you don't know, TALK ABOUT IT.

If you want some support or help discussing organ donation you can visit NHS resources here.

I have thought about it and this Organ Donation Week, I am signing up as a organ donor. I have read through and made a decision I am happy with. Maybe in the future I will change my mind and thats ok, you can change your mind, just remember to let everyone know if you do.

Its also cool to know you can choose which organs and tissue you donate. If theres something your not sure about, again theres support and information on the NHS site.

For me, I have decided I want to donate as much as possible. However, something in me says I want to keep my heart. Maybe its selfish, maybe its sentimental and maybe I will change my mind in future. But right now. Thats the one thing I want to keep.

I hope this post has encouraged you to consider and to discuss organ donation.

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