Donate for life

JANUARY is a time for celebration for the Spriggs' family of Wingham.

This year they will celebrate the second anniversary of Ron's heart transplant. It is a time for reflection and thanksgiving in the memory of an unknown donor and their family.

Hence it came as a surprise when Ron's wife Carmen found a note on her car windscreen in Coles car park last Thursday.

The hand-written note stated "organ donors are dissected ALIVE!" It made reference to a website, expressing the views of so-called experts who maintain that organs are 'harvested' from donors whilst they are still alive.

Ron and Carmen don't know if the note was left randomly because of the DonateLife sticker on the car or if they were targeted because of their support of DonateLife, the government initiative that assists the families of organ recipients and, most of all, organ donors - or if it's someone's idea of a sick joke.

Since his transplant Ron has been giving talks to local schools and community organisations promoting organ and tissue donation. The talks have been well received and many local residents have not only been encouraged to talk to their families about their wishes but have also signed up to be donors.

"The talks I give to the community are aimed at educating people, and present facts about organ donation. We encourage people to discuss this delicate subject with family members so that informed decisions can be reached.

"If people wish to become donors and register as such then that's good. If they don't then their views should be respected," Ron told the Chronicle this week.

"To be considered as a donor a special set of circumstances must exist. The donor must be on life support, no organs can be used from a cadaver and treatment is never compromised in an express effort to collect organs. The donor, and their family, is treated with the utmost dignity at all times and, don't forget, it's ultimately honouring their wishes and/or the wishes of their families."

Ron was interested to note the presence of biblical quotations on the website in question. "Most religions are in favour of, and encourage, organ donation as an act of kindness towards your fellow man, but then, the world is full of 'nut jobs' who spread fear throughout the community via ignorance that comes in the guise of so-called religious teachings."

Ron went on to say that he found the website insulting to the many, many surgeons, doctors and healthcare professionals involved in the organ transplant program. 

"I have never in my entire life previously met such a large group of dedicated, loving, kind and compassionate people."

"The person that left this note obviously prefers to hide behind an unsigned note rather than come out and show their convictions.

"We'd be happy to discuss this matter with them at any time and give them the facts rather than having organ donation referred to as a sacrifice to the sun god".

"Can you imagine how a donor family feel when confronted with such crap?"

Ron grins and recites one of his favourite sayings "if ignorance is bliss, then someone in Wingham must be very happy."

DonateLife Week is January 23 - March 2.

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