Stars promote organ donation awareness

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Aug 31, 2013 - Page 5

To raise awareness of organ donation, the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center is launching a series of promotional activities in the coming months, including a relay marathon in October.

For this year’s events, the organization has shot some promotional films for the center with veteran actress Tan Ai-chen (譚艾珍), her daughter Ouyang Ching (歐陽靖), also a celebrity, and late EDA Rhinos manager Hsu Sheng-ming (徐生明), who died unexpectedly on Saturday from a heart attack.

“He had also agreed to be one of the center’s board members. I was astonished and sorry to hear about his death,” said Lee Po-chang (李伯璋), chairman of the center.

Endorsing the cause with her mother, Ouyang said Tan took her to register to become a potential bone marrow donor 10 years ago, when she was 20, and was told by her mother to “donate everything possible should anything happen to mom.”

Lee said that the government bears the responsibility for boosting organ donation rates and should place the issue high on the nation’s healthcare agenda.

“Seventy thousand people require regular dialysis in this country and their medical expenses amount to about 11 percent of total National Healthcare Insurance (NHI) expenditure. As the NHI is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy, organ donation requires the government’s utmost attention,” Lee said.

“In many other countries, a kidney transplant is patients’ first choice and research has shown that those who receive a kidney transplant live an average of 10 to 15 years longer than if they stayed on dialysis,” he added.

Registration for participation in the “Relaying Love, Continuing Life” relay marathon closes on Sept. 19.