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I would like to be remembered for leaving a positive legacy one day.  One way in which I can do this is to register as an organ donor and possibly be responsible for Saving 7 Lives and improving the life of up to 50 other people.

When I say this to friends or people I have met, I often receive a horrified look and I know that they haven’t ever been exposed to, or thought about, how organ donation can impact others and may impact them in the future.

Being on the transplant list doesn’t mean that you haven’t cared for your body.  There are so many different ways in which you can end up needing a transplant.  You may have been in an accident for example, you may have type 1 diabetes and your kidneys have become irreparably damaged, you may have an autoimmune disease, a congenital defect, you may get sick with a virus that affects your heart, the list is endless.

For people on the transplant list this is the last resort because transplantation is not easy.  You need to be a strong individual to navigate a path through the extreme care you need to take afterwards, the anti-rejection medication, the side effects of the medication, the regular doctors’ visits and more, to still come out positive on the other side.  Amazingly, despite all they have been through I have yet to meet a transplant recipient who is not positive, upbeat and looking to live their lives to the fullest whilst honouring the memory of their donor.

For me, as someone looking on from the outside, watching someone I love deteriorate steadily and him still be determined to look outward, I am in awe of his mental strength.  I value the support of friends and family and I appreciate the opportunity to help to raise awareness about organ donation for everyone on the transplant list.

Janet Legemaate

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