2015 Gift of Life DonateLife Walk

Thursday, February 26, 2015

For the ninth year, Gift of Life’s DonateLife Walk was held around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra on Wednesday 25 February, with a simultaneous short walk also held around Commonwealth Park.

The objective was to raise wider community understanding and awareness of the need for increased organ and tissue donation. It also sought to promote a discussion with family and close friends of each other’s organ donation decision and of the need to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register, thereby encouraging a significantly higher consent rate for donation and saving more Australian lives.  The theme this year was “Have the chat that saves lives - Ask and know your loved one’s donation decision.  Discover, Decide, Discuss organ and tissue donation”.

The event was sponsored by the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority and supported the national campaign promoting organ and tissue donation.

Threatening weather held away and the walk was conducted in cloudy but cool conditions – and as usual it was a fun occasion with a great atmosphere with colourful balloons, bright T shirts, hats and caps which were provided free.  Life sized photo images of prominent hospital transplant staff and people involved in the transplant community were displayed to provide context.

The walk was launched this year by the Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), Senator Fiona Nash, the Government’s Assistant Minister for Health responsible for organ and tissue donation and Mr Simon Corbell, ACT Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Health.  Also attending the ceremony were Ms Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health reflecting bipartisan support.  They were introduced by Gift of Life President, David O’Leary.

Others participating in the walk included Ms Gai Brodtmann, Member for Canberra, Ms Yael Cass, CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority and a range of other MPs and ACT MLAs.  Members of the Brumbies rugby union and Capital Football teams also took part. Teams of public servants, business people, health staff, school college and university students, including a team of ANU medical students, and the general participated.

Human Services/ Medicare staff handed out showbags containing Australian organ donor registration forms.  Lions Club Belconnen served a free healthy BBQ breakfast to participants after the walk.

The overall number of partipants this year was around 5,000 with wide media coverage.  The figures in recent years have continued to grow from 1,800 in 2011, 2400 in 2012, 3,100 in 2013 and over 4,000 in 2014 demonstrating ever growing community understanding and support for organ and tissue donation. 

The walk is now a major community event in Canberra and amongst the largest in Australia supporting organ and tissue donation.  It is now a major event on the annual Canberra calendar.

Other photos of the walk are in the photo gallery.

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.