Gift of Life’s DonateLife Walk 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gift of Life’s DonateLife Walk was held at a new location on the Patrick White Lawns between the National Library of Australia and Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra on Wednesday 1 March 2017. Held in good weather conditions, it attracted close to 4,500 participants. A simultaneous shorter walk was also held around the National Library.

The objective was to promote wider community awareness of the need for increased organ and tissue donation. It also sought to promote a discussion with family and close friends of an individual’s donation decision and the importance of signing on to the Australian Organ Donor Register. This is vital in encouraging a much higher consent rate for donation and thereby saving many more Australian lives each year.

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

As usual, it was a bright occasion and had a great atmosphere with coloured balloons, t-shirts, hats, caps and show bags that 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 on display to provide context.

The walk was launched by the Governor-General of Australia His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), accompanied by Lady Cosgrove. Also speaking at the launch were the Hon Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Minister responsible for organ and tissue donation and Ms Meegan Fitzharris MLA, ACT Minister for Health. Ms Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health also attended the launch ceremony reflecting bipartisan support. Speakers were introduced by Gift of Life President, David O’Leary.

Others participating in the walk included Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, Shadow Minister for Regional Communications and Services, Stephen Jones, Member for Canberra Ms Gai Brodtmann MP, the CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority Felicity McNeill, a range of other MPs and ACT MLAs. Teams of public servants, business people, health staff, large teams of school college and university students, including a large group of ANU medical students, participated.

Human Services staff were on hand to encourage participants to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register run by Medicare. Lions Club of Canberra Belconnen served a free healthy BBQ breakfast to participants after the walk.

The walk continues to draw large numbers. It has grown from 1800 in 2011 to 5,700 in 2016. This year in 2017 in its new location it attracted 4,500 participants. This demonstrates continuing substantial understanding and support for organ and tissue donation in the Canberra region.

A decade on, the Walk has now become a Canberra institution and amongst the largest community events in Australia in support of organ and tissue donation. Make sure you come along and join the walk next year!

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.