Organ giftees urge: Give life

28 June 2017 - 05:50 By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER
SECOND CHANCE: Sanjay Maharaj and his wife posing for the Love Life Gift Life's national poster campaign. Maharaj received a new heart from a donor eight years ago
SECOND CHANCE: Sanjay Maharaj and his wife posing for the Love Life Gift Life's national poster campaign. Maharaj received a new heart from a donor eight years ago

Eight years ago, Sanjay Maharaj was on the brink of death.

It was only his daily dose of medication that kept his diseased heart pumping. But a generous "gift of life" - a new heart - gave the father of two more time with his family.

Maharaj is now one of many organ transplant recipients who have lent their faces and stories to nonprofit organisation Love Life Gift Life's national poster campaign. It is aimed at encouraging South Africans to become organ donors.

The Organ Donor Foundation says more than 4000 South Africans are awaiting organs.

Love Life Gift Life was established last year by four friends - Alice Vogt, Shaylene Perry, Siobhan Scallan and Fawn Rogers, all of whom have had lung transplants.

Perry said: "We are hoping these powerful and inspiring messages from recipients will help address the critical shortage of organ donors in South Africa."

The posters will be displayed in clinics, hospitals and pharmacies.

"We want to encourage individuals to talk to their families about organ and tissue donation and to communicate their wishes to their next of kin," Perry said. "The majority of the public are not aware that their family members are the ones who ultimately have the final say and organs cannot be donated without the consent of the family."

Maharaj said of the campaign: "The joy of making people aware of organ donation could only happen because I am still here."

Marilee Chananie - a kidney and pancreas recipient who also features on a poster - said they are "proof that organ donation does save lives". "They show individuals like myself who have been fortunate enough to receive a life-saving transplant."

X