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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 26 November, 2014

Group of Meath students come up with plan to save lives

The students will have their project implemented during organ donation week.

Back: Ms Caroline O' Reilly (principal) Elizabeth Corbally, Clodagh Martin, Leona Smith, Carol Mahon, Grace Quinn, Colette Cronin (teacher)
Front: Lucy Herward, Aoife Flattery, Clare Bradley, Úna Farnan, Caoimhe Fox.
Back: Ms Caroline O' Reilly (principal) Elizabeth Corbally, Clodagh Martin, Leona Smith, Carol Mahon, Grace Quinn, Colette Cronin (teacher) Front: Lucy Herward, Aoife Flattery, Clare Bradley, Úna Farnan, Caoimhe Fox.
Image: Students via Eureka School

ONE GROUP OF students from Kells have created an education pack to raise awareness of organ donation throughout schools in Ireland.

The girls from Eureka School in Kells, Co Meath first came up with the idea in transition year as a Young Social Innovators project.

They created an education pack to educate people in school about organ donation so people could then make an informed decision on whether or not they wanted to be organ donors.

One of the students, Clare Bradley, explained that a neighbour had died and donated their organs and it started a conversation in the class.

We realised that not many people in our class knew about organ donation so we carried out a survey and found that generally young people aren’t educated about it.

“There is a box on your driving license to say whether or not you want to be an organ donor but if you’re not aware of it you’re not going to tick the box”.

The class won the Young Social Innovators of the Year 2013 award with this project.

They then worked to turn it from a concept into a reality and got funding to implement it.

Their transition year teacher, Colette Cronin told TheJournal.ie,

“Ten of the girls continued to work on this project although they are now in fifth year starting to study for their leaving cert.

The girls worked in their own time, after school and during holidays to get this pack complete. They’re so passionate about this project.
Bradley said one of the reasons the group is so passionate about it is because guest speakers who had donated or received organs came in to speak to the class.
We heard from both donors and people who received organs, one woman whose son had died and his organs were donated also spoke to the class. It really showed us the importance of organ donation.

Organ Transplants

Last year was a record year for organ transplants in Ireland, 294 organs were transplanted compared to the previous record of 275 in 2011.

The Irish Kidney Association said,

The generosity of the 86 deceased donors and their families in 2013 dramatically altered and saved the lives of 245 people.

The group of girls from Eureka school hope that students across Ireland will now be more aware of the need for organs and that the education their information pack provides will mean thousands more people will donate.

Student Clare Bradley said,

90 per cent of people are in favour or organ donation, they just don’t get around to it. It’s not something you put on your ‘to do’ list.

“Nobody likes talking about death but if we get people talking about their plans regarding organ donation, it has a ripple effect to family, friends and the wider community”.

The information pack will be officially launched at a YSI event in the Mansion House in Dublin on 25 March where Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will be presented with a copy of the DVD.

The packs will then be rolled out to schools across the country during organ donor awareness week, which runs from 29 March – 5 April.

Read: 2013 a ‘record year’ for organ transplants in Ireland>

Read: ‘Soft opt-out’ system for organ donation recommended for Ireland>

Read: Carry an organ donor card… in your smartphone>

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