More than 630 West Australians offered the gift of improved mobility and wellbeing to other Australians last year, with generous bone and tissue donations to PlusLife.
PlusLife Managing Director Anne Cowie said hundreds of Australians had benefited from the selfless donations of bone and tissue in the past year and, this Australia Day, urged the community to consider registering as donors to help more people in need.
“Each of these donations has the ability to make very real differences to the lives of others,” Mrs Cowie said.
“There are hundreds of recipient success stories, including young cancer patients who have been saved the trauma of limb amputations and scoliosis patients who have been able to walk without pain and reclaim their lives after surgery thanks to kind tissue donors.”
PlusLife is a not-for profit and the only bone bank in WA. It manages bone and tissue donations through its two donor programs.
Living patients having hip replacement surgery can donate the ball part of their hip. And, like organ donation, bone, tendons and ligaments can be donated after death with consent from next-of-kin.
Of the 634 donations made in 2017, 619 were from living patients who donated their femoral heads, the ball part of the hip, after hip replacement surgery. Femoral heads are commonly used in a ground-up form to treat children with spinal deformities.
With the consent of generous family members, another 15 people donated bone and tissue after death.
“While organ donation has a high community profile, many people are not aware that tissue donation is actually possible, or that the decision to donate tissue and bone can be life-changing for patients,” Mrs Cowie said.
“One deceased tissue donor has the potential to improve the wellbeing, sight and mobility of up to 60 people through the donations of bones, tendons, corneas, heart valves and skin.
“We are proud that PlusLift grafts are produced from bone and tissue donated by Australian donors and not sourced from overseas. We stand by our onerous and thorough screening practices that ensure we are continually offering only the best quality donations to the community.
“On Australia Day, we celebrate all that we love about our country, but most of all the people. We like to think that PlusLife is a conduit for Australians helping Australians.”
Donations managed by PlusLife are used for patients undergoing life-changing operations, such as surgery to treat spinal deformities, complex joint surgery and treatments of patients with dental and facial bone loss.
Mrs Cowie said tribute should be paid to the hundreds of living and deceased tissue donors who, through their generous donations, had helped improve many lives.
“We are extremely grateful to be able to offer the community a world-class service, but there is always a need for more donors to help benefit more lives,” Mrs Cowie said.
“We acknowledge these donors and this Australia Day, we urge all Australians to consider tissue donation. Have the conversation with your family and friends about your wishes and register your wishes on the Australian Organ Donor Registry.”
PlusLife has delivered services valued at more than $30 million to the community over the past 25 years. In addition to supplying graft for local medical procedures, PlusLife also provides bone and tissue around Australia.
To register as a bone, tissue or organ donor, visit www.donorregister.gov.au or via Medicare online.