The taboo subject of organ donation.

Hello my lovely friends how are you? I hope everyone is good and is having a brilliant 2019 so far. It has been nearly a month since I last posted on here and that is due to a multitude of reasons. First of I just felt so uninspired to write, which is very hard to deal with when your hobby in life is to write. Second of all I’ve just been in a tough place mentally, I’m trying to put aspects in my life that have failed me back together and trying to figure a few things out. Now that I’ve done that little bit of housekeeping, I am back to wanting to write and post. I am wanting to talk about something in this post quite personal and can be quite controversial, so I would like to ask you to get involved in the discussion as I would LOVE to hear your opinions but also I would like you to be respectful of the topic and people contributing.

First off I want to start off by saying hello there I am Alex and my dad needs a heart transplant to save his life. That’s a very hard sentence to write and it’s something I’ve been wanting to write but never felt the courage to do so. My dads health has been a sore subject to me for the last 12 years now, it has been long and sometimes harrowing journey and now we are here. In 2008 my dad was diagnosed with Viral Endocarditis and had to have emergency open heart surgery to get a titanium valve installed. The following 10 years consisted of having different diagnosis’ until May 2018 the doctors decided the only way he would get better was to have a completely new heart. This was obviously a big and scary shock because this is an area of life that we had never experienced or knew much about as a family.

Now that you have the back story I want to talk about the taboo that surrounds organ donation and why I am eager to break down that barrier and talk about it more. Organ donation is a personal choice which is something that is so alien to think about and make. The thought of deciding to give parts of you to someone else after you die can be quite mind boggling and something which you want to push to the back of your mind. I mean if you’re like me and have a very strange relationship with death you will NEVER want to think about it, but however scary it is I know how important it is to make. The fear of the unknown is a huge reason why people choose to ‘opt out’ of organ donations, I mean the thought of you or your loved ones being cut open and parts of them removed can be quite a daunting thought. I mean by principle is sounds horrendous and seems quite disrespectful for the dead. However there is some beauty and comfort in the idea that you don’t die in vain. That your death helps save up to 8 other lives. Also one reason why a lot of organs don’t end up getting donated is because it isn’t pushed as much to the general public and so many families are having to make the decision in the first 24 hours of losing their loved ones which can be such a traumatic and horrifying choice to have to make.

Another breeding ground for taboo is cultural barriers, for example some Asian and African cultures believe that for the deceased person to successfully pass into the afterlife they much have all of their body intact. This can cause fear of organ donation because if you believe in an afterlife then why would you give up your chance to get there? I respect that ideology, however I have questions. What happens if they die in an accident which ends with their body being dismembered? Will they still then go to the afterlife? This uncertainty can scare people out of wanting to become an organ donor.

An interesting article I read on Getloudforkidneys talked about a young woman from a Muslim background who’s family was very against being an organ donor for religious reasons until a spanner was thrown into the works and she then needed a kidney donor. How does that shift views? Well Jannath continued by saying that once she had done some research on organ donation she had found out that the major religions all allowed and promoted organ donation and that it was due to lack of education and communication about organ donation which caused her family and her culture to be so against it. She is using a platform and her experience to educate other people and communities on organ donation so that there are more people who have a chance to get the new organs that they need to survive. If you would like to hear more about Jannath and her story do follow her blog and learn more.

If you are not an organ donor and are reading this thinking well why should I decide to sign up to the register?

  1. Katie living long enough to be a mum due to her two successful heart transplants
  2. Blake being able to be a defender in his local football team
  3. Khalieghya was given the chance to grow up and be a normal girl
  4. Alejandro being able to see the world for the first time
  5. Me having my dad walk me down the aisle, to meet my children and to be a part of my life for as long as he can

Some more resources for you all.

Where can I donate? Here

Does organ donation line up with your beliefs? Find out here

What type of donations can I make? All of these

Organ donation FAQ’s

More real life stories

*disclaimer most of the images are not my own*

This has been a post which I’ve been wanting to write for a long time so I would love to hear your thoughts on it all. Thank you so much for reading today and I hope to see you around these parts again soon. God bless you xxx

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17 Comments

  1. Brb, just need to dry my eyes!! Alex you are such an amazing girl and I have so much respect for you and your family. I couldn’t ever imagine going through something like this. I nearly lost my dad in January 2017 but he was lucky enough to have only one operation and a few days in hospital before he was sent on his way. I’m very much for organ donation and I do my bit whilst I’m alive by giving blood as regularly as I’m allowed! I really don’t think that there’s enough emphasis OR education about organ donation for the public at all.

    Again, I have so much respect for you and I really hope your dad gets a heart so he can be with you in all your big and small moments ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth I’m gonna be the one that’s gonna be crying in the minute! I really appreciate the support and that you give blood because you have no idea how many people you can help when you do so. I’m glad that you enjoyed it and I hope that information and education on it gets spread so that people can learn more about it. Only 30% of people are actually organ donors and about 45% people actually need the organ so I hope to spread awareness so people can help those in need. Thank you for the support Beth it is not unnoticed ever🧡

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly I want to wish you and your family all the best, and I hope your Dad gets the new heart he needs. Secondly, well done for writing about such an important topic. It can’t have been easy for you. I think this is definitely a topic that should be discussed more freely and people shouldn’t be afraid to talk about. Like you say, it’s often a decision that has to be made by families who are already going through a distressing time. People need to make their wishes clear before it’s too late. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking your time to read my post and leave such a lovely and supportive comment. I know it can be a touchy subject but I felt like it needed to be said; a conversation needs to be started. Even if people disagree with my thoughts it should still be discussed. I totally agree with you that people need to have that conversation with their families without it being awkward because at the end of the day it’s important. Thank you again for your kind words and well wishes. Alex x

      Like

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this! Organ donation has always been kind of a no-brainer for me — of course I’d donate my organs! What will I need them for? (I also don’t subscribe to any religion, so nothing’s standing in my way on that end.)
    Organ donation was never taboo in my family. Part of this was because I had a great grandmother who wanted to donate her body to science. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able ‘cause she was too old when she passed, but we’ve definitely adopted her outlook!

    Wishing all the best for you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking your time to read and comment on my post, it is always appreciated. I’m glad that your family has that outlook on life (and death) and are able to talk about it freely. Thank you for opting in and I’m grateful that conversations about it are being had xx

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