Cyclones and Rockets Brooke Blair, Ben Wright and Jessica Thomas in their new colours to support organ donation awareness.
Cyclones and Rockets Brooke Blair, Ben Wright and Jessica Thomas in their new colours to support organ donation awareness. Allan Reinikka ROK240719abasketb

Basketball boss all heart as he backs life-saving register

BASKETBALL: Rockhampton Rockets and Cyclones will be stepping out for what could be their last home game of the season this weekend, decked out in a new uniform designed to raise awareness about organ donation.

DonateLife Week, which encourages Australians to register to become an organ and tissue donor, runs from July 28 to August 4 this year.

Rockhampton Basketball general manager Cam Tragardh thought it was the perfect time for the team to show its support for the national awareness week and decided to sign himself up to become a donor yesterday.

"I myself didn't realise how easy it is to donate your organs. I thought it was just something you tick off on your driver's licence,” he said.

"We thought CQ Health and DonateLife was a fantastic cause and helping Queenslanders and Central Queenslanders is parallel with our goals.

"We're well supported in the community so it's extremely important we give back as well and get behind the community.

"We're trying to spread that message and if we can help save (one person's) life, I think that's a fantastic thing. Increasing that awareness is something we're behind.”

The bright pink and maroon uniforms were designed by CQ Health and DonateLife, with help from Central Queensland's organ donation specialist Josephine Reoch.

For Reoch, DonateLife Week is all about encouraging people to think about donation, registering their wishes on the Australian Organ Donor register and informing their families about their intentions.

According to Reoch, at least 80 per cent of Australians are happy to donate their organs but only a quarter have formalised their wishes on the register.

"The younger crowd is definitely a deficit in registrations. Nobody wants to think about death. We're all young and invincible,” she said.

"It's going to happen to us all one day so lets just put it on paper and say what we want and get it done.”

In Central Queensland, there are 16,600 registered donors, which makes up just 26 per cent of the region's population.

Reoch said this week was all about informing people about the process, which takes "60 seconds or less online”, and adopting the "Plus One” initiative.

"Grab a mate and double the rate. Cam is my plus one this year,” she said.

"He's one of many people who are willing to donate but never formalised that decision.”

Reoch reassured the public that they are never "too old, too unfit or too unhealthy” to become a donor.

"At the time of death we determine what is medically suitable to donate,” she said.

"Hopefully it's decades away and the medical staff will determine what can be donated at the time.

"Doctors, nurses and ambulance officers are in the business of saving lives, so it's only when absolutely everything has been done to try and save the life of the person in the bed in front of us that we even consider organ donation.

"Saving someone's life is an amazing legacy to leave behind and families of donors are incredibly proud of what their loved one was able to achieve in their death.”

Reoch will be at Saturday's match against Brisbane Capitals at Adani Arena, answering any questions about organ donation and helping people sign up online.

For more information

Find out more about DonateLife Week at DonateLife Week

Register as a organ and tissue donor here

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