Gift of Life Welcomes Progress in Donor Rates

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gift of Life Inc. celebrates the news released earlier today that in 2012 more Australians than ever before received a life-saving transplant.

Figures released by the Government and the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) show that there was a 5% increase in donors above 2011 which resulted in a 4% increase in transplant recipients.  Each donor can save many lives. 

The highest number of kidney transplants ever from deceased donors and the highest number of liver transplants were achieved.  There was also a significant increase in corneal transplants in 2012 enabling many people’s eyesight to be improved.

Around Australia, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT all achieved their best ever organ donation results.

Read more  . . .

Gift of Life's DonateLife Walk 2013

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Join thousands of Canberrans for the Gift of Life's annual DonateLife Walk on Wednesday 27 February 2013 and show your support for raising awareness of organ and tissue donation.

Thousands of Canberrans are expected to take part to show their support for raising awareness of organ and tissue donation. The event is sponsored by the Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority, which promotes the national reform agenda in this sector.

Organised by Gift of Life, the walk 2013 is a key community event in Canberra during national DonateLife Week, which runs from Sunday 24 February to Sunday 3 March 2013. During this week, all Australians are being asked to “Discover, Decide, Discuss” organ and tissue donation to “Make their organ and tissue donation wish count”.

It is important that family consent rates increase, which is a critical factor in increasing organ and tissue donation for transplantation outcomes, thereby saving the lives of many more Australians each year. If your wish is to transform lives, make it count; register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and most importantly, share your wish with your family and close friends. This is because in Australia, the family of every potential donor is always asked to confirm the donation wishes of their loved one before organ and/or tissue donation can proceed. And make sure you ask and know your loved one’s wishes so that you can make their wish count, should the situation arise.


Australian Organ & Tissue Advisory Council

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Recently, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, announced the appointment of members of the Advisory Council to the Government’s Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority.

The second term Advisory Council, which will serve for three years, includes for the first time representatives of leading community organisations promoting organ and tissue donation. Gift of Life President David O’Leary as well as the CEOs of Transplant Australia and Kidney Health Australia will take part.

The Chair of the new Advisory Council is well-known TV presenter and finance expert Mr David Koch who was also a member of the Advisory Council during its inaugural term.  Ms Anne Cahill Lambert AM was also re-appointed to the Council as a leading health consumer advocate.  Anne was past President of Gift of Life.

Gift of Life welcomes the involvement of leading community bodies in the new Advisory Council giving them the opportunity to make a more direct input to the Government’s organ and tissue donation reform program.  

Gift of Life welcomes NSW Move to National Organ and Tissue Donor Register

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Gift of Life welcomes the recent decision by the NSW Government to close the NSW Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) organ donor register, and to now encourage NSW residents to register their wishes to be an organ and tissue donor on the national Australian Organ Donor Register, managed by Medicare. 

GoLi actively campaigned on this matter for a number of years and made a submission with Kidney Health ACT to the recent NSW Government review:  we were concerned that the NSW arrangements were not in keeping with the national approach to organ and tissue donation, and actually acted to inhibit organ donation in that state.  This also had adverse implications for ACT citizens who rely on NSW hospitals for transplantation.  

A major concern - which had resulted in a very low level of organ donations in NSW – was that many NSW residents who had previously recorded on the RTA Register that they did not want to be a donor but had since changed their minds, were being excluded from becoming a donor since they had not formally recorded this change on with the RTA  – even though they had subsequently signed onto the national Register or had told their family of their new wishes.  This change by the NSW Government will make that a thing of the past.  

Our congratulations go to the NSW Minister for Health, Mrs Skinner for this significant change. 

David Gough

Friday, May 04, 2012

Gift of Life pays tribute to Mr David Gough of Darby’s Falls, New South Wales, who died while riding his motor bike in Sydney on 3 May 2012.

David was the highly deserving winner of the inaugural Terry Connolly Award for Community Awareness Raising at the annual 2012 ACT Chief Minister’s Awards for organ and tissue donation awareness in February this year, organised by Gift of Life and involving Ms Katy Gallagher.

Gift of Life came to know David well through his tireless crusading efforts as a keen advocate of organ donation awareness by undertaking long distance motor bike rides around regional Australia, spreading the message widely to people both directly and through extensive media coverage.

In this way as well as through his gentle advocacy he inspired many Australians to make sure they discuss organ and tissue donation with their loved ones as well as signing onto the Australian Organ Donor Register.

David began his campaign following the death of his daughter Melody in December 2009 who became a multi-organ donor, saving the lives of three people through her generosity.

David’s wife Robyn provided a memorable and persuasive account of their reasons for supporting donation at the national launch of DonateLife Week 2011 at the Australian National Gallery in the presence of the Governor-General, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO.

Gift of Life records its sincere thanks and appreciation to David for his major contribution to promoting organ and tissue donation awareness.  Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his wife Robyn and son Tim at this very sad time 



Chief Minister Katy Gallagher with David Gough and David O'Leary

ACT Chief Ministers Awards

Monday, February 27, 2012

The annual ACT Chief Minister’s Awards for organ and tissue donation awareness were held at a special ceremony at the ACT Legislative Assembly on 24 February held in cooperation with Gift of Life.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher acknowledged the major contributions of seven individuals:

  • ABC radio personality Greg Bayliss received the Angus Fairbairn-Cody Award for Media Support.  This recognized his role in generating community interest in organ donation via Canberra’s local media and also his role as MC at the annual Gift of Life DonateLife Walk.
  • Rick McQualter was honoured with the Annette Taylor Award for Community Service in recognition of his work within the Coroner’s Office of the Australian Federal Police in facilitating organ and tissue donation in cooperation with hospital staff.
  • Dhale Brown, who works at The Canberra Hospital mortuary, received the Ben Wiseman Award for Healthcare for his voluntary work in cornea retrieval from tissue donors in cooperation with DonateLife ACT staff.
  • Marguerite and Laurie Wiseman, a donor family, were given the Mathew Reynolds Award for Community Service for their active involvement on information stalls and public speaking as well as involvement in a DonateLife ACT advisory group.
  • Pat Siciliano, a kidney recipient, received the Jenny Deck Award for Community Support for his tireless efforts on information displays and public speaking, for involvement in a DonateLife ACT advisory group and as a board member of Gift of Life.
  • David Gough was awarded the inaugural Terry Connolly Award for Community Awareness Raising in recognition of his major role in promoting organ and tissue donation in country areas of Australia through long distance motorbike rides, his most recent ride covering 8,000kms.  His daughter became a donor.

l-r  Marguerite & Laurie Wiseman, Greg Bayliss, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, President David O'Leary, David Gough, Pat Siciliano and

l-r Marguerite & Laurie Wiseman, Greg Bayliss, Chief Minister  Katy Gallagher, David O'Leary, David Gough, Pat Siciliano and Rick McQualter

All of the awards were named after donors who have generously given others a new opportunity of life.

Gift of Life President David O’Leary thanked all the recipients of awards for their hard work and contribution to organ and tissue donation awareness, and also paid tribute to those who promote this important issue within their families, communities and networks.

For more information:

DonateLife Walk 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

For the sixth time, Gift of Life organised the annual DonateLife Walk in Canberra on 22 February 2012 as one of the key events held around Australia during national DonateLife Week. The event was sponsored by the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority.

Alana Lowes, a finalist in Masterchef, lodges her intention to be an organ and tissue donor with a volunteer from the Australian Organ Donor Registry. 

The aim was to highlight the importance of people signing the Australian Organ Donor Register and of having a family discussion to know their loved ones’ wishes in order to increase donation consent rates in future.

There was a very large turnout this year with around 2,400 Canberrans taking part, including many more young people.  The event attracted strong media coverage.  It was a wonderful morning, a colourful occasion with many balloons, bright T-shirts and hats worn and photographic images of key personalities involved in transplant activities in the ACT and Sydney hospital teams reflecting the nature of the occasion.

And they're off!

Most participants took the regular route from Regatta Point around the lake across Kings and Commonwealth Avenue bridges and back. Others took the new alternative shorter walk around Commonwealth Park which was less demanding and better for those needing to get to work early.

Key participants included The Hon. Catherine King, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Ms Katy Gallagher ACT Chief Minister, Senator Gary Humphries representing the Federal Opposition Leader, Ms Gai Brodtmann Member for Canberra, Mr Zed Seselja ACT Opposition Leader, Mr Jeremy Hanson ACT Shadow Health Minister, Ms Jane Halton head of the Department of Health and Ageing, Ms Yael Cass CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority, Dr Peggy Brown head of ACT Health as well as a number of sporting personalities including members of the TransACT Capitals, Olympic athletes and the official AIS starter, Masterchef finalist Alana Lowes at the BBQ, local business and community leaders, staff from government departments and agencies as well as large numbers of school and university students.

l-r Ms Yael Cass, The Hon. Catherine King, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Ms Gai Brodtmann, Ms Jane Halton & Mr David O'Leary

Gift of Life President David O’Leary thanked all those who turned out to show their support for organ and tissue donation: “Events like the DonateLife Walk provide an important opportunity for people to have a conversation with their loved ones and to know their wishes so they are prepared to give their consent to donation should the situation ever arise.  So we were pleased to see so many people take part in the Walk this year held during national DonateLife Week.”

More information is available at:

Gift of Life - DonateLife Walk 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The annual DonateLife Walk, organised by Gift of Life, is on again on Wednesday 22 February 2012 and thousands of Canberrans are expected to take part to show their support for organ and tissue donation. The event is sponsored by the Organ and Tissue Authority.

The walk is the main Canberra community event during national DonateLife Week, which runs from 19 to 26 February 2012. During this week, all Australians are encouraged to ask and know their loved ones' wishes about organ and tissue donation. This is because in Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased before donation for transplantation can proceed.


Gift of Life School Awards

Saturday, November 05, 2011
Recently, awards were presented to those colleges represented by large numbers of senior students at the DonateLife Walk which Gift of Life organised in February 2011.  Over 1800 people took part in the walk and the students made up a significant proportion of the participants.

Gift of Life President David O'Leary, accompanied by Vice President Bill Handke, addressed the senior assemblies of six colleges - 

  • St Clare's College
  • Canberra Grammar School
  • Canberra Girls' Grammar School
  • Daramalan College
  • Marist College
  • Merici College 

with a total of around 6,000 students present.  The Colleges were given framed certificates recognising and expressing appreciation for the strong and enthusiastic involvement of their schools at this year's walk.

David O'Leary (l) and Bill Handke (r) present St Clare's certificate to Ellen Stokes, School Captain.

The Walk promotes the need for increased organ and tissue donation.   It encourages people to learn the facts about organ and tissue donation, to discuss it with their families and to know each other's wishes and, after deciding, to sign on to the Australian organ and tissue donor register which is managed by Medicare.  By increasing consent rates, many more Australians lives can be saved.

We warmly congratulate all six colleges on their well deserved awards !


Friday, September 23, 2011

The Parliamentary Secretary released the mid point implementation review of Australia's efforts to increase organ donation.  In her press release, Ms King said that the national reform agenda had made significant progress.   

The Government's detailed response to the review was released at the same time and itemises progress in the nine areas of reform.

Register for Organ Donation

Are you registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register?   Click here to register on line or call 1800 777 203.

Tax Deductible Gifts

Gift of Life Incorporated – a not for profit non-governmental organisation – based in the ACT engages in a range of activities each year in support of organ and tissue donation.

Gift of Life enjoys tax deductible gift status with the Australian Taxation Office for contributions received in excess of $2.00.

Those in the community wishing to contribute funds to support Gift of Life’s activities may do so either by sending a cheque addressed to Gift of Life Incorporated, PO Box 9511, Deakin, ACT 2600 or by direct transfer to Gift of Life Incorporated’s bank account with the NAB BSB 082-980 Account Number 495688467.


Terry Connolly

Justice Terry Connolly died suddenly in the early morning of 25 September 2007 on Red Hill, having cycled to the top as part of his exercise routine.  He was a Supreme Court Judge since 2003, and Master since 1996.  Terry was the Member for Molonglo in 1990-1995 and served as the ACT Attorney-General and Minister in various portfolios, including Health.  He and his family have lived in Canberra for many years and he was a popular Canberran.

More importantly, Terry was a husband, father, son and, following his death, a tissue donor.

Terry’s wife, Dr Helen Watchirs, says that she and Terry had discussed their wishes in relation to organ donation.  This meant that at the dreadful time of death, she was clear on his wishes.  Terry’s donation to the improvement of other lives has given Helen and his daughters a sense of contribution, and has helped make up for a life cut short.