Why did you become a donor?
‘I’ve been registered as a donor in America since I turned eighteen. What happens there is that once you get your driving licence, you are automatically asked if you want to register as an organ donor. If you do, this appears on your driving licence. I did, at one point, receive a letter in the Netherlands, but I haven’t yet got round to filling it in. To be honest, it ended up in a pile somewhere and I forgot all about it because I’m already registered in America. But now I do want to register in the Netherlands. My family is here, so, for now at least, my future is in the Netherlands. I became a donor because so many people are in need of an organ and the waiting lists are so long. This is because there are too few organ donors. In America I once did a photo reportage on this subject and the stories I heard really shocked me.’
What do Americans think about organ donation in general?
‘When I was a teenager and still living there, it was a serious issue. There were so many people on the waiting list. There are so many people in need of a kidney, for example, but you only stand a chance of getting one if you are at the top of the list. The government always provided a lot of information about organ donation. There are many religious groups in America who are conservative in their thinking and against organ donation. I actually find this hypocritical: if you’re religious then you should really want to help other people, shouldn’t you? And what use are your organs once you’re dead? That’s what I think anyway.’
Why do you think that everyone should become a donor?
‘You should become a donor because you can then give other people and their families the hope of a new life. If my daughter ever ended up in the situation of needing an organ, I would hope that someone would give up an organ for her, so I would do the same for someone else, and I’m not alone here either. If I could help someone, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. I certainly hope that this campaign helps to get people thinking about this and making their decision.’
Britons, Americans and Canadians and organ donation*
- 75% of the Americans and Canadians, and 76% of the Britons living in the Netherlands think that if you live in the Netherlands you should also consider organ donation and should record your decision in the donorregister (donor register).
- The Britons and Americans/Canadians find it a waste not to donate your organs after your death more often than other immigrants do.
- 70% of the Americans and Canadians and 69% of the Britons in the Netherlands think that most people from their own community in the Netherlands would prefer not to be a donor. In reality, 60% of all Americans and Canadians and 62% of all the Britons in the Netherlands have registered their decision.
- For most of the immigrants, saving someone else’s life is the most important reason to become an organ donor.
*Source: ‘Immigrant groups and donor registration’, a survey by TNS NIPO/Veldkamp, November 2010. A survey of 500 recent immigrants to the Netherlands.
- How does organ donation work exactly? Watch this short video.
- Would you like to register? Go straight to the Dutch Donor Register website.
Are you still considering registering? Watch one of the short films below and hear what others have to say about organ donation: