An organ donation can be the difference between life and death. This week recognises DonateLife – the annual event to acknowledge the importance of organ and tissue donation.

One organ donor recipient has been 2-year-old Eabha (pronounced Ava), who received a lifesaving liver transplant in early 2015.

Eabha was diagnosed with biliary atresia within days of her birth.

For her parents, Emma and Tom Connell, it meant many operations in the first 13 months of her life and long periods of hospitalisation and constant commutes between Tasmania and Melbourne.

A little over a year and a half ago since her operation, Eabha is growing stronger and enjoying her childhood.

Without an organ donor, Eabha’s life would not have been so postive.

Tasmania has the second highest rate of organ donor registration in the country, at 47.2 per cent or almost one in two people.

This is fantastic to see and is testament to the many Tasmanians who have taken the step to become a registered organ donor.

However, there is room for improvement.

According to research 96 per cent of Tasmanians believe that registration as an organ donor is important, so there is an evident gap between awareness and registration rates.

It is clear that we need to do more to get the message out and encourage everyone in the eligible age range (16+) to consider registering.

In particular, we need to get the message out to younger generations, as just 8 per cent of young Australians aged 18 to 24 are registered donors.

The importance of this cannot be underestimated, given that nationally, 1500 people are awaiting an organ donation, while there are 12,000 individuals seeking a new kidney.

In the past year, 13 Tasmanians have received a life saving transplant through the generosity of six organ donors and their families.

During DonateLife Week, I urge all Tasmanian residents to help end the wait and join the Australian Organ Donor Register online.

Visit to register online.

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