Gift of Life DonateLife Walk 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Gift of Life’s annual DonateLife Walk was held for the 13th time at Regatta Point across the bridges around Lake Burley in Canberra on Wednesday 13 February 2019. It was also the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority and the national DonateLife campaign.

Held on a mild sunny morning with a light breeze, it attracted around 5,000 participants. A simultaneous shorter walk was also held around Commonwealth Park.

The objective was to promote wider community awareness of the need for increased organ and tissue donation.  It sought to promote a discussion with family and close friends about their organ donation decision and, importantly, to encourage participants to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register.  This is vital in encouraging a much higher consent rate for organ and tissue donation and thereby saving many more Australian lives.  

A team from the Department of Human Services managed a stall enabling them to talk to participants and to encourage them to sign onto the Register – accessible online or by completing a brochure at

The event was sponsored by the Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority and supported by the ACT Government.  It promoted the national campaign for organ and tissue donation and registration.

As usual, it was a bright and joyful occasion with a great atmosphere. T-shirts, hats, caps and show bags were supplied to a large number of the participants free. Life-sized photos of prominent hospital transplant staff and people involved in the transplant community were displayed to provide context. Donor families and recipients were interviewed in a live broadcast by 2CC.

The Walk was launched by the Governor- General His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC and  the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Senior Australians and Aged Care who is also responsible for Organ and Tissue Authority. The ACT Government was represented by Tara Cheyne, Member for Ginninderra. They were introduced by Gift of Life President, David O’Leary.

Others participating in the Walk included Member for Canberra Ms Gai Brodtmann MP, the CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority Lucinda Barry, a range of other MPs and ACT MLAs and a number of departmental Secretaries and heads of agencies. Teams from government departments and agencies, health staff, business, large teams of school college and university students, including ANU medical students, and from ADFA participated.

Large numbers of students from St Clare’s College, Merici College, Narrabundah College and Canberra Girls Grammar School took part in the walk.

The Lions Club Canberra Belconnen served a free healthy BBQ breakfast to participants at the completion of the Walk.

The many thousands of participants at the walk again this demonstrates the growing as well as substantial understanding and support for organ and tissue donation in the Canberra region.

The Walk has now become a major Canberra event and is amongst the largest community events in Australia in support of organ and tissue donation and the national DonateLife campaign as well as the Australian Organ Donor Register.  Make sure you come along and join the Walk in 2020!

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.