“You’re more likely to meet an organ failure patient than you are to meet a donor,” declared Professor A. Vathsala, Co-Director and Senior Consultant of the National University Centre for Organ Transplantation (NUCOT), during a discussion forum at the ‘Game of Survivors; Outlast Yourself, Support Organ Donation” roadshow and fundraiser held at University Town on 16 February 2017. This large disparity in numbers — according to Prof Vathsala, for every one million people, there are approximately 220 organ failure patients and about 10 organ donors — was one of the driving factors for the event.
Organised by NUCOT, in partnership with TeamNUS and NUS Medical Society (NUS MedSoc), the event aimed to raise awareness for the organ donation programme in Singapore, promote a healthy lifestyle as well as raise funds in support of the National University Health System (NUHS) Fund Limited to help organ transplant patients.
The event included a treadmill charity run, with 15 treadmills open for participants. Every 1km that was run raised $10 for the Fund, with some $6,300 raised by the end of the event.
“It was very refreshing and it encouraged me to run,” said Claire Teo, a Year 2 NUS Design and Environment student who took part in the charity run. “It’s also good because it allows those without means to help with the cause.”
Game booths put up allowed participants to enjoy themselves while also discovering different facts and information on organ donation, as well as put to rest any misconceptions and myths they might have. Information on the Human Organ Transplant Act was also shared with participants.
“I was taught this in school, but this was a more fun way to learn,” shared Jonathan Neo, a Year 2 NUS Medicine student who was at the event.
Participants were also treated to performances by the NUCOT band, an 11-member group consisting of NUCOT post-transplant patients, NUH healthcare workers and NUS MedSoc undergraduates.
The organisers hope that the event will help in opening the conversation about organ donation, both deceased and living, and enlighten people on the lifesaving capabilities of organ donation — one deceased donor can increase the lifespan of up to five people with organ failure by a total of up to 70 years.