In this lesson, you will read or watch stories about people who have received an organ or tissue transplant. You will use what you have seen and read to create your own story about the impact of organ and tissue donation.
This is a good activity for kids to complete independently.
Ideal for: Middle secondary – ages 15-16
- think and connect
Time required: 40 minutes
Curriculum connections: English, Literacy, Sustainability
This lesson is part of the wider unit of work DonateLife: Exploring Organ and Tissue Donation – Years 9 & 10.
Fast facts about donation
- Organ and tissue donation can save and transform many lives. One organ donor can save up to seven lives, whilst one tissue donor can transform many more.
- In organ donation, organs are removed from a deceased person (donor), or sometimes a living kidney or liver donor, and transplanted into someone who is very ill or dying from organ failure.
- Very few people have the opportunity to be an organ donor. A person needs to die in a hospital, usually in the intensive care unit or emergency department on a ventilator and their organs need to be functioning well to be transplanted into another person. Only around two per cent of people who die in Australian hospitals — approximately 1,300 each year — meet the criteria required to be considered for organ donation. This video explains the issue: The organ donation process in Australia
- Whereas organ donation can only occur under very specific circumstances, tissue donation isn’t subject to those stringent conditions and can be donated up to 24 hours after death, regardless of where the death occurred. Eye and tissue donation can significantly improve the quality of life for others, such as restoring sight or mobility through bone and joint surgery.
- Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes; however, as of January 2022 around 1,750 people are on the Australian organ transplant waiting list, with another 13,000 on dialysis, some of whom would also benefit from a kidney transplant at some time in the future.
- In 2021, there were 421 deceased organ donors who gave 1,174 Australian organ recipients a new chance at life and 203 living organ donors. There were also 1,472 eye donors and 313 deceased tissue donors.
- To be an organ and/or tissue donor, Australians are encouraged to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register at donatelife.gov.au/register and to tell their families they wish to be a donor. Telling your family is important because families are asked to give consent to donation at the time of their family member’s death.
- Families give consent nine out of ten times when a person is on the register, but this drops to four out of ten times if they don’t know what their family member wanted to do.
- Around four out of five Australians support organ donation; however, only around one in three are registered. This is the gap the Organ and Tissue Authority and DonateLife agencies are working to close.
This lesson has been created in partnership with DonateLife to get young Australians talking about organ and tissue donation.
Organ, eye and tissue donation saves lives, restores health and improves the quality of life for thousands of Australians each year. But did you know that only 2% of people who die in hospitals each year can be considered for organ donation? One organ donor can save the lives of up to seven people and help many more through eye and tissue donation.
Safety advice: Thinking about organ donation and end-of-life can make some people feel uncomfortable or worried. If any of this content makes you or your child feel uncomfortable or upset, make sure to reach out to people who can help such as a counsellor, community leaders or friends. You can find contact details on the Handling Sensitive Topics And Issues Factsheet.
What you will need:
- Computer or device for online research
[email protected] from Cool Australia
[email protected] resources are designed for parents and teachers to use with children in the home environment. They can be used as stand-alone activities or built into existing curriculum-aligned learning programs. Our [email protected] series includes two types of resources. The first is fun and challenging real-world activities for all ages, the second is self-directed lessons for upper primary and secondary students. These lessons support independent learning in remote or school settings.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.