Organ Donation

Organ Donation

It’s a no brainer. You’ll be brain dead.

It was Organ Donation week this month and if you’re anything like me – heaven forbid – you’re probably wondering why such a morbid subject was allowed to have a whole week!

I’m more of a ‘Puppy Dog week’ or ‘Popcorn Day’ (January 19th) gal. These are subjects that I can relate to and ‘sweet tweet’ while posting cute puppy dog pics hoping all my 1,461 friends give a ‘thumbs up’.

Who’s going to ‘like’ a photo of my kidneys? Plus I don’t have a photo. I suppose I could just post a pig’s kidney and say it’s mine. They look the same. I know because I’ve helped my aunt Alicia make her famous kidney pie. 

Even if I did post a piggy one, it’s unlikely my 1,461 friends would be happy about it. They might even be tempted to do horrible things like put a sad emoji or comment ‘…gross …’ Twitter people might even ‘unfollow’ me, and I have very few followers as it is.

So it’s back to posting cute kitty cats and little chickens so people can send hearts, happy emoji’s and message things like ‘Awww … life is wonderful’.

Because life is wonderful! An incredible, magical adventure! Until you die, which is a little bit of a let down if you ask me. There you are posting photos of adorable bunny rabbits … eating your caramel popcorn (recipe posted on January 19th) and BAM … you choke on a kernel and it’s over. RIP, THE END, FINITO, NADA. You don’t even get a chance to see how many people ‘liked’ your post! It’s not fair. But asking me to think about what happens next ain’t fair either.

What bothers me most is the message ‘This week talk to your loved ones about organ donation. Pick an appropriate moment’.
Huh? What’s an appropriate moment? After eating aunt Alicia’s kidney pie? Something like:
‘You know how we used kidneys for this delicious pie? Well someone might need YOUR kidney … and if you have an accident and are brain dead … whatta you think about organ donation? Could you pass the butter?’

Let’s face it’s never a good moment. Until someone you love needs it. Or someone you know needs it. Or, selfishly thinking … until … I need it! ‘Cause at my rate of gin and vodka intake – my liver will need an update PRONTO.  

Luckily for me if that happens I have a get out clause. I’ll go back to Spain. Because Spain is the world’s leader in organ donation and has held that place for the past 26 years. You didn’t know? I’m not surprised. We don’t exactly advertise it. I doubt tourists would warm to the slogan:

‘Come to Spain! Sun! Sea! And leader in organ donations!’

On the other hand if you do need an organ while sunning your buns, Spain is the place to be. Last year 2,183 Spaniards became organ donors after they died, making 5,260 transplant surgeries possible! Including 1,200 liver transplants (that’s my one!), 3,200 kidney transplants, 360 lung transplants and a whopping 300 heart transplants. Saving lives and making them better for thousands of people – that’s our real FIESTA.

This success is mainly due to our ‘opt-out’ system:  ‘En Espana todos somos considerados donantes si en vida no hemos expresado lo contrario.’
‘In Spain we are all considered donors unless we express the contrary.’

 Results show it’s the best way. Because it’s hard to ask someone to donate their body parts when they’re still using them! It’s like asking your parents to give away the inheritance while they’re still alive. (For the record my parents gave me a resonant: ‘¡NO!’)

Like many other countries, the UK is considering the ‘opt-out’ system as the best way forward. But for now – you guys have to face the uncomfortable ‘opt-in’. Let me remind you it won’t cost you an arm and leg to at least think about it – because it’s not limbs they’re looking for. It’s your organs.

So here’s some slogans to help start the conversation:

Organ donor card: It’s what’s on the inside that counts

 Organ donor card: You only live twice

Organ donor card: for those who like me … achieve little.

 Organ donor card: the gift that keeps on giving.

The End?

Sonia Aste is a writer, a comedian and an organ donor. Just don’t count on her liver.


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