GEORGE TOWN: Driver A. Tiruna Garasu realises the true value of saving another person’s life after his late son’s organs were donated last year.
Tiruna, 50, said he and his wife were heartbroken when they lost their eldest child T. Kiran Arasu, 20, in a road accident last November.
“We decided to donate his organs although we did not know much about the procedure then.
“Right before he breathed his last, we decided to donate his organs so part of him would live on in others.
“Many supported our decision, but there were others who said we should not have done it.
“I even asked myself if I had done the right thing.
“We later received a letter from the National Transplant Resource Centre (NTRC) saying that my son’s organs and tissues were successfully used to save and help many lives,” he said during the “Let’s Save Lives” event to mark Organ Donation Awareness Week, held at Beach Street.
Tiruna said he then felt that his son’s life was no longer short-lived and he had served a purpose.
“I visited the state Transplant Resource Centre and found out that by donating my son’s organs, it helped children, accident victims and expectant mothers.
“I realise there is not much awareness about organ donation and how many lives we can help and change.
“My wife and I also decided to become organ donors today.
“We want to encourage people to pledge to donate their organs too,” said the father of five.
The event, organised by Penang Hospital’s Transplant Resource Centre in collaboration with St John Ambulance Penang, also saw a Fun Walk with over 400 participants, a CPR training session and free health screenings.
The centre’s chairman Datuk Dr Zahari Noor said although organ donation pledges were increasing, the number of actual donors had decreased over the years.
“Based on statistics from NTRC as of July 31 this year, there are 393,221 registered organ donation pledgers, but over the years the actual number of organ donors has decreased.
“In 2015, there were 71 organ donations made nationwide, in 2016 there were 39 and so far this year, there have been 17 organ donations.
“Most of the time family members are not aware that the person who has passed away was an organ donor, so the funeral is conducted without informing the hospital.
“In Malaysia, even if the deceased is an organ donor, their family members still have a say over whether their organs can be donated.
“When you become an organ donor, it is important to inform your family of your wishes.
“This is one of the reasons why there is a huge gap between pledgers and actual organ donors,” he said.