A couple of years ago, a group of thirty six highly motivated and concerned Saudis, led by businessman Abdul Aziz Alturki, set up a society to raise awareness about organ donation. Many in the Arab world and in Saudi Arabia, do not consider donating organs to sick people to be an obligation. One of the reasons why we established this society is our concern that thousands of Saudi men, women and children in need of a transplant are forced to endure pain and misery because of the lack of donor organs. Indeed, there are so many people who are in need of transplants that some of them find themselves forced to travel abroad and pay an astronomical sum to buy an organ, but most cannot afford to. So we thought, why not create awareness in our society and encourage people to donate their organs. What we intended to do is to educate the local communities about the importance of organ donations through the media, public outreach programs, and conferences. There were many challenges ahead of us. One of which is securing the help of prominent religious scholars to spread positive religious and social messages about organ donation, and educating the public about its importance. The reason is very simple; this will save so many lives and will bring so many people out of their misery. On May 30 the Saudi Society for the promotion of organ donation ‘Eithar’, in collaboration with the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, University of Dammam, and Dammam Medical Complex, will hold the 1st Gulf Organ Donor Management Conference in Dammam. The two key people responsible for making this conference a successful event are Dr. Hanan Al-Ghamdi, vice president of Eithar and Dr. Shady Anis, “Eithar” director. The aim of this activity is to share experience and knowledge, and promote standards of patient care to reach the international level. Topics will cover wide range of issues related to brain death management, as well as brain death/multi-organ donor issues. Moreover, we want to raise awareness and improve approaches and management in organ donation. Last year, Haya Al-Otaibi, an eleven-year-old girl who suffered through renal failure, brought us to tears when she told us about her experience that changed her life drastically. One cannot feel the hardship or agony a renal failure patient faces, especially when the patient is a child. She was tied to a fatiguing routine to maintain her condition, along with the weekly hemodialysis sessions that drained her. “Thank you Mom” Haya said, “you gave me life twice, one with birth, another with your kidney.”
Tweet: Don’t think of organ donations as giving up part of you to keep a total stranger alive. It’s really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive.