Page 543 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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program, which is overseen by Dr Salim Okera at the Calvary hospital. As we know, corneal transplants can transform people’s lives and can now be performed locally in Canberra. But eye tissue donors are vital to sustaining this program.

We heard yesterday from both Frank Villegas and Emma De Landre about their personal experiences in receiving corneal transplants and the difference it made to their lives. They were very moving talks from those two people. A person’s life is affected when their vision is dramatically reduced as a result of any condition where the cornea becomes cloudy from disease, injury or infection.

I have had two relatives lose their sight in their 60s. I know how it affected them. Last year in Australia, as we have heard today, 1,144 people donated their eye tissue and 1,730 people had their sight improved with corneal transplants. As a result of the generosity of eye tissue donors and their families in the ACT in 2011, more than 55 people received the gift of sight.

This demonstrates the generosity of the ACT community, who see that organ and tissue donation supports and improves the lives of other Australians. As we know, this week is a week when we are all called upon to make the decision to become an organ and tissue donor if we have not already done so, which I have.

Also I would encourage all Canberrans to ask for and to know what your loved one’s wishes are. This is again very important, as the Chief Minister alluded to this morning. Of course, I have done that. The reason why it is important for people to talk about the fact that they have registered to be an organ or tissue donor, or to donate both, and to share that donation decision with the people closest to them is that people will be asked to confirm the wishes of their loved ones.

That is what happens in Australia at the time when a person is deceased. Families are asked to confirm that and there is a discussion at a very difficult time. If they do know that already, of course it is much easier for everyone concerned.

I want to thank all those involved in organ and tissue donation in the ACT, in particular Dr Okera and his team, the organisations and the volunteers that support the donors’ families and the donors’ families themselves. To discover more about organ and tissue donation, I suggest that people, if they have not already done so, go onto the website I will see you all hopefully at the walk tomorrow.

North Canberra Gungahlin Cricket Club

Mr Keith Tournier

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.45): Last Sunday, 19 February I was invited to the annual North Canberra Gungahlin Cricket Club Keith Tournier volunteers day. Keith Tournier was a volunteer with norths for many years. The particular annual day is not only in memory of Keith Tournier; it also gives the club an opportunity to thank all the volunteers across their complete cricketing community. The day started with a junior development match, which was then followed at 2 pm by a twenty20 match between their first XI and a selection of 11 players from all other first grade clubs in Canberra.

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