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Thursday, 30 July 2015

You Don't Need Your Heart When You're Dead


When I was younger, the concept of organ donation freaked me out when I thought about it, which was rarely. Having been blessed in never knowing anyone that had had a transplant it was not something I'd addressed really; I'd blame youth, but I think I was just me being self absorbed.

And then recently I had to renew my drivers' licence and one of the questions asked by the online form was to please tick the box if you would like to be added to the NHS Organ Donor list. I ticked it and then I thought about it. A lot.

When my card arrived to say I had been successfully added, its accompanying letter asked me to inform my next of kin that I was a card carrier. And so this is me doing this and also sending out a plea.

I am not really sure why organ donation is not opt out to be honest rather than opt in... I don't care what religion you are, most religions - if not all - preach helping others. However, not associating with any fomal religion myself, that is not my argument. Here it is...

We live our lives giving away parts of ourselves every day, some to people who deserve it and some who do not. We give away our hearts to lovers who leave us and those who become their caretakers till the end. We throw away our thoughts and our speech carelessly every day to companies and corporations we work for, or necessarily use these solely human gifts to go about our day to day life. We burn energy from our muscles in exercise and moving about. We hear everything that passes us, without prejudice. In youth these gifts seem unlimited and we do not always choose to use them wisely, perhaps until middle age moves to old age and they falter and we realise that we would like to carefully select - as much as we can - what we utilise them for.

This leads to time, our most precious, most limited resource which we give away everyday, even though we still need it. We give it with joy to people we love and to pursuits we enjoy, we give it with reluctance to perfunctory tasks, with resignation (sometimes) to the grinds of everyday life and careers. Often we give it to the world, to people we don't know, to charities, to good causes, to those in need, to help others even if if we never see the outcome. We often lose it uncontrollably when we are angry or sad or bad. We numb it with alcohol, food, drugs and television. We wish it away, we wait for the weekend, for the summer, for Christmas. CANNOT WAIT TO SEE YOU. When we examine our lives we muse on how to give our time better, to be of more value.

All of this is human and it's wonderful and it's part of what it is to have a human life. But tell me this, why, if you are happy - for the most part - to give away all these things when you still have need of them, are you reluctant to give away your bodily organs etc when you have not?

I hope as everyone does that I do not die young, but if I do, I would like my body to be a free for all for anyone who needs it. Take anything you want. I believe they are unlikely to want my lungs as I have smoked for ten years and even though I am going to give up this year, I still think they are unlikely to be transplant worthy. Other than this I would like to give everything away with no conditions. Obviously I would prefer if they went to "worthy" people, but if my liver is given to an alcoholic (tbf that might be pretty ropey too ;), or my kidneys to an ex-con then that is the way things go. Maybe they will take it and it might make their life so much better and the rest of me can be burnt and spread around the globe.

To be honest, I would just like to finish on you ALL signing up to the organ donation website.... PLEASE
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