Rabbitohs celebrate DonateLife Week at Prince of Wales Hospital

The South Sydney Rabbitohs surprised patients, staff and visitors at Prince of Wales Hospital last week to show their support for DonateLife Week, and to demonstrate the importance of registering as an organ and tissue donor. 

The players made it a priority to pay a special visit to dialysis patients, who are waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant, as well as patients who have recently received a transplant.

Dr Shannon Thomas, Transplant Surgeon, Prince of Wales Hospital, said the visit was really uplifting for patients and staff and hoped that it would encourage more people to register as organ and tissue donors.

“It can be really tough for patients who have to be hooked up to dialysis machines for hours at a time, sometimes several times a week, while they’re waiting for a healthy kidney. It's difficult for them to carry out normal activities, even hold down regular work,” Dr Thomas said.

The players met Katica Kovjanic, who currently receives dialysis treatment for four hours at a time every second day while she waits for her life-saving transplant.

“This is very exciting for me to meet some of the Rabbitohs players, I am originally from Croatia but I love the Bunnies! I have sent many of their jerseys over to my nephews and relatives in Croatia, so they are getting known even over there!” Ms Kovjanic said.

Adam Reynolds, halfback, South Sydney Rabbitohs, said he didn’t even hesitate when it was suggested that the players might consider registering themselves to be organ and tissue donors.

“One of the surgeons we spoke to said they can only use a small percentage of organs, when you hear that and see the people upstairs and think about what they’re going through it’s a no-brainer to sign up and help out,” Mr Reynolds said.

To mark the week-long awareness campaign, national landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, were lit-up magenta, the colour synonymous with DonateLife Week, to shine a light on the issue.

Whilst more than 11,000 lives have been saved through the generosity of donors over the past ten years, there are currently 1,400 Australians currently on the waiting list for a life-saving transplant. To register visit www.donatelife.gov.au.

South Sydney Rabbitohs with Katica Kovjanic