Save Seven Lives

Words: Taryn Gingell ǀ Photos: Courtesy of the Organ Donor Foundation

Inspiring People

The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF), through their ‘SAVE SEVEN LIVES DRIVE’, is encouraging members of the public to become organ donors because one person can save seven lives when they become an organ donor - this includes the use of one heart, two lungs, two kidneys, one liver and one pancreas.



Currently, there are more than 4,300 people throughout South Africa awaiting an organ transplant operation. Many are children, who are forced to put their childhood interests and dreams on hold while waiting for a suitable donor. Others are adults who could become fully functioning, economically active individuals, transforming their own lives and creating a lasting positive impact on their communities. Unfortunately, there’s only just over 300 transplants performed annually in South Africa.


Sadly, many people with healthy organs die unexpectedly due to injury or brain conditions. Their families are then faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to donate their organs. The ODF aims to motivate everyone to consider the issue of organ donation timeously and to make their wishes known to their families.


Some interesting facts:
The following organs can be transplanted: hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers and pancreas.
The following tissue is also used: corneas, heart valves, skin and bone.
People can agree to donate some organs and not others.
Anyone under the age of 70 and in good health can be an organ donor.
You can change your mind about being an organ donor at any time.


Once you've registered, you will be sent an organ donor card to carry in your wallet and organ donor stickers for your ID book and driver’s licence. Most important is to talk to your family. Inform them of your wish to become an organ donor, as your organs cannot be procured for transplantation without consent from your next of kin.


So if you would like to help the ODF reach its target of 50,000 donors in 2013, please register and encourage family members, friends, work colleagues and everyone you know to become organ donors.


Other ways to help
The Organ Donor Foundation is a non-profit organisation, which relies entirely on funding from the corporate and private sector. Funds raised go towards its ongoing awareness and education initiatives aimed at the public and medical professionals. You can assist in various ways:
1. Post the ODF a cheque.
2. Make a direct deposit.
3. Sign up for a monthly debit order contribution – visit the ODF's website and click on the debit order button or email: for the debit order form.


The Organ Donor Foundation has Section 18A Status. All donations received over R100 are tax deductible and you will be sent a receipt and tax certificate.


Bank Details: ABSA Bank, Heerengracht
Account Name: The Organ Donor Foundation
Account No: 01273580600
Branch Code: 506009
Cheques payable to: The Organ Donor Foundation


ODF's mission
The role of the Organ Donor Foundation is to educate and inform the public about the life-saving benefits of organ transplantation and the urgent need for people to register as organ donors. Sadly, many people with healthy organs die unexpectedly every year due to injury or brain conditions. Their families are then faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to donate their organs. The Organ Donor Foundation aims to motivate everyone to consider the issue of organ donation timeously and to make their wishes known to their families.


All over South Africa, thousands of patients are desperately waiting for much needed organ and tissue transplants. A multitude of conditions, including terminal organ failure, blindness, blood cell cancer and extensive burns, are in fact curable. As transplantation becomes more successful, the need has vastly outgrown the availability of donated organs and tissues.




Who can be an organ / tissue donor?
Any person in good health and clear of defined chronic diseases that might adversely affect the recipient will be considered as a possible donor.


Can I be a donor if I have an existing medical condition?
Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ donor. The decision about what organs will be transplanted will be established at your time of death.


Can I agree to donate only some organs or tissue and not others?
Yes. Please inform your family which organs / tissue you do not wish to donate.


How long after death do the organs / tissue have to be removed?
It is essential that organs / tissue are removed as soon as possible after brain death to ensure successful transplantation. Brain death has to be certified by two independent doctors.


Is there any cost involved in signing up as an organ / tissue donor?
No, it costs nothing to sign up as an organ donor.


Does my family pay for the cost of donation?
No, the hospital or state will cover all medical expenses from the moment of diagnosis of brain death and when your family has given consent for the removal of organs/tissue.


Would my family receive compensation for donating my organs/tissue?
No, organ / tissue donation is a gift.


Can people buy or sell organs and tissue?
No, organ / tissue donation is a gift of life from one family to another. Trading in organs and tissue is illegal.


Can I donate an organ / tissue while I am alive?
Yes, in some cases. Live donations, such as a kidney are often done between family members, because the blood groups and tissue types are more compatible to ensure a high success rate.


How do doctors know I am really dead?
Two doctors, who are completely independent of the transplant team, have to perform detailed tests before a person can be declared brain dead. The criteria for brain death are very strictly adhered to and accepted medically, legally and ethically in South Africa and internationally.


Can doctors keep me alive on support systems?
All potential organ donors are patients on support systems. They are submitted to tests to certify brain death and become organ donors once brain death is certified and permission is obtained for organ donation. Death of the organ donor is defined by the time of certification of brain death, not by the withdrawal of support.


Does being a donor delay the funeral?
No. As soon as the donated organs / tissue have been removed, the body is returned to the family to bury or cremate.


Does organ / tissue donation leave my body disfigured?
No. The utmost respect and dignity is given to the donor at all times. The recovery of organs and tissue are carried out with great care by surgeons and trained staff and the process does not change the way the body looks.



For more information on events, or to register as an organ donor please call the toll free line (0800 22 66 11) or you can register on our website:



Clayton Duckworth races for a good cause

Clayton Duckworth, aka ‘The Flying Duck’, will compete in the gruelling Absa Cape Epic for a second time in 2013. As a rider for Team Absa, Clayton is passionately dedicating his participation in the race to The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF). Absa will donate R 1,500.00 to the ODF for every stage of the race that Clayton successfully completes - a potential total of R 10,500.00 (7 stages excluding the time-trial prologue on day 1).


“I decided to support the ODF because I was directly impacted by an organ donation,” Clayton explains. “My mother was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure in 2006. After four difficult years, including a few near-death episodes, we were finally thrown a help line by the ODF. Sadly, a young man who had been in a car accident was given no chance of survival and he donated his organs. Our family got the call one Saturday morning and that evening my Mom received her kidney transplant. Thanks to that young man, she is now able to lead a near normal life again. He unknowingly helped 17 different people and I would not have my Mom around today if it wasn’t for him.”


Clayton’s heart-warming story is the reason he wants to create awareness of the ODF through the Absa Cape Epic and get as many people listed as organ donors as possible.


In accordance with the unique two-rider team format of the race, Clayton will be pedalling alongside his Absa teammate, Janez Vermeiren. The South African-Belgian model and TV presenter is probably best known as one of the sexy DIY handymen on Top Billing, before he became a full-time presenter for the premier leisure and lifestyle show on SABC 3 and co-hosted Top Travel.


Other riders in Team Absa include TV Presenters Michael Mol and Janez Vermeiren, model and actress Vanessa Haywood, and rugby legends Joel Stransky, Cornè Krige and Tiaan Strauss.


For more information about the race, visit


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