Football Federation Australia (FFA) today announced an exciting new partnership with the Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) which will the see the Westfield FFA Cup 2017 competition help raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.
Australia’s biggest football knockout competition, which continues to capture the imagination of the sporting public, is seen as an ideal platform to promote and support DonateLife Online Registration Campaign, which aims to increase the number of Australians joining the Australian Organ Donor Register to save lives.
The announcement was made by the Head of Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League, Greg O’Rourke, this morning at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium, the venue for the FOX SPORTS broadcast match on the opening night of the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 between South Melbourne and Edgeworth Eagles.
O’Rourke said the wide appeal of the Westfield FFA Cup was a perfect fit for encouraging young people to make their decision count by joining the Australian Organ Donor Register, and he is confident the football community will rally strongly behind the campaign.
“The beauty of the Westfield FFA Cup is that it is nationwide and covers all levels of the game from the grassroots up to the professional ranks of the Hyundai A-League & Westfield W-League, so it has an incredible ability to reach a large audience to spread this important call out for people to register as organ and tissue donors,” said O’Rourke.
“The inclusiveness of football across ages, background and gender is greater than any other sport, so we believe that the Westfield FFA Cup is the perfect vehicle to help drive the national DonateLife Online Registration Campaign and join with OTA to get the message out there, particularly among young players and fans, which can make a life changing difference to many.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Government unveiled a new online organ donor registration process on donatelife.gov.au that takes just minutes for Australians to register their donation decision.
“With signing up now so quick and easy, we hope people will jump online and register to save lives.” said O’Rourke.
Minster for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, welcomed the partnership with the FFA.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to improve organ donor rates, with football fans around the country encouraged to register,” Minister Wyatt said.
“The extraordinary gift of organ donation was brought close to the FFA family recently, with former A-league player Danny Vukovic’s little son Harley receiving a life-saving liver transplant.
“New research shows that more than two-thirds of Australians are willing to become organ and tissue donors but only one-third have taken the step of joining the Australian Organ Donor Register.”
Last year, a record 1,713 Australians received a transplant thanks to the generosity of 503 deceased and 267 living organ donors and their families.
“Today around 1,400 Australians and their families are waiting for a life-saving transplant,” the Minister said. “Together, we can help end their wait by registering and discussing with our loved ones our donation decision.
“Registering and discussing with the family your desire to become an organ donor leaves your family in no doubt as to your wishes. This is highlighted by the fact that nine in 10 families agree to donation when the deceased is a registered donor.”
Former semi-professional footballer Ante Kelic, who received a liver transplant thanks to the generosity of his donor and their family, is an example of someone who has benefitted from the simple decision of people to sign up as an organ donor and to share their decision with loved ones. The gift of a transplant meant that Ante was able to be there for the birth of his baby daughter.
Former Socceroo and Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson will be an official FFA ambassador for the DonateLife campaign, which will include digital and social media promotions, while the OTA will have activations at particular matches throughout the Westfield FFA Cup Final Rounds.
New research commissioned by the OTA highlights the gap between the number of Australians willing to become an organ and tissue donor (67 per cent) and the number of registered donors (33 per cent).
Young adults aged 18-24 years are the demographic most willing to receive a life-saving transplant if needed (75 per cent) however only eight per cent of this age group have joined the Australian Organ Donor Register.
This Sunday marks the start of DonateLife Week – a week dedicated to urging more Australians to register online to save lives. Australians can join the Australian Organ Donor Register online at www.donatelife.gov.au.