One of the most surprising side effects of my husband having a liver transplant, is that we are have both discovered a passion for talking to others about our story and how important organ and tissue donation is.
If you had told us four or so years ago that we would happily do speaking gigs, I would have said it would never happen.
But it does…and we love it!
We have now done a few talks, but they have been to groups of adults, who mainly have medical backgrounds.
But, yesterday, we did a speaking engagement for DonateLife which was a little different.
It was at a Friday house assembly at a large private boys school….in other words, a theatre full of about 200 teenage boys!
My husband was the main speaker, alongside a doctor from the ICU at the hospital where he had his transplant.
It was interesting preparing for this gig, as we had to make sure we got the message about why organ and tissue donation is needed, but we didn’t want to scare them about the whole concept.
We also checked with the staff to make sure there were no student who had recently lost someone close to them.
But when my husband started speaking, you could almost hear a pin drop…if you know teenage boys, you will know how amazing this was.
I also wasn’t sure if they would be engaged enough to ask questions…at past talks, we always got lots of questions…but there were plenty asked, including some really good ones.
For example, a student asked what my husband’s inspiration was when on the waiting list…another asked how he managed to get to keep as fit as possible while he was so sick.
One thing we did notice was that it was the younger boys asking the questions, and a few even waited around afterwards to speak to him.
Afterwards, he commented that doing the talk was the best thing he had done all week, and enjoyed the experience.
Which is good as we have another four dates booked at the same school over the next month or so, and we are really looking forward to going back.
Because even if only a few of the boys go home and talk to their families and friends about what their wishes are in regards to organ donation, then we have made a difference.
Click here to find out more about organ and tissue donation in Australia.
Click here to read about my husband’s transplant story.
If you would like us to come and speak to your group (if located in Melbourne, although happy to travel if required), please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Rachael - The Bowerbird Girl
That’s awesome. I’ve worked with teenagers before and know what it feels like when they’re not engaged (not fun), so kudos to you both.
Thanks Rachael! My husband is a teacher so is used to dealing with teenagers, but he was presently surprised with how engaged they were. Have another one in a few weeks so will see if the same thing happens! 🙂
Fantastic Sarah, love this message you are starting them young! I still believe we need an opt out system, not opt in. Has it changed yet?
Thanks Lisa! Looks like we are not changing to an opt out system anytime soon. However, there soon will be a new way to easily register on line…should be available in May this year.
I work with young people aged 5-18 and talk to them about all things political and discuss ideas like democracy, fairness, power, equality etc with them and they have the most interesting perspectives on things and have made me think about things in a way I wouldn’t have before, it’s the best feeling when you know they are really absorbed in what your discussing, doesn’t surprise me it was the younger ones asking more questions, the more they get into the teenage years the more reluctant they seem to be to draw attention to themselves! I’v been thinking about organ donation recently and discussing it with my friends so was really apt timing to read your post about it. When I joined a new doctors recently they asked if I wanted to opt in.