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A DECADE OF PASSION AND PURPOSE: THE LAUNCH OF ORGAMITES.COM

After ten years of relentless commitment, today I finally get to launch the Orgamites website and resource hub to distribute educational tools to primary schools for free in the UK. This vision was first conceived a decade ago, even though the programme has been successfully running in Greece and Canada for the past four years, and Northern Ireland for the past 2 years, with South Africa up next.

So today, I thought I’d do something different and share why I started this passion project in the first place, which has now become a full-time job!

Here are the three reasons that led me to create the Orgamites.

The first reason is a very personal one. My brother Bradley contracted Encephalitis when he was just 5 weeks old. When he passed away at the age of 12, no one at the time considered donating his organs. None of the physicians or nurses thought to even ask my parents. I’ve since felt we would have healed stronger, and possibly quicker, if Bradley’s sad passing had perhaps had some positive outcome – if, for instance, via organ donation, his death had saved another child’s life. In a small yet powerful way, he’d still be here too. I’ve always wanted to share this option with other families so that they could have more choices if ever faced with such a tragic loss as our family’s.

My second reason is because of a four-year-old boy called James. In the UK, while working for the advertising agency, JWT, Jamie Thomson (my ‘write’ hand at the time) and I were approached by the charity, Live Life Give Life, to create their next campaign. At the time, organ donation awareness campaigns were all about the adult individual in need, not the wider circle of family, friends and colleagues who were left behind. This led me to create a community campaign called “Let Love Live On.” The success of this campaign reinforced my commitment to helping the organ donation community, so I joined the charity as a Trustee and Creative Director.

Later that year I was introduced to the Lewis family whose four-year-old son James was in desperate need of a new heart. Motivation doesn’t get bigger, nor does the brief if you’re working as a creative! I made a short documentary which got the right attention and James got his new heart. But that day, I also learnt that 40 other children were still waiting for their miracle. In that moment I knew there had to be a better way to talk to children, their parents and teachers about organ donation.

And finally, my third reason for starting the Orgamites was my own upbringing. Growing up in South Africa, in a very divided society, I had a first-hand experience of how bias and prejudice set in from a young age and can go on to shape one’s entire outlook and future.

Creating fun, engaging programmes that inspire diversity, kindness and inclusion are key to solving our societal challenges. The earlier we start to do this, the better! If our role as parents and teachers is to transfer the values, skills and habits that are important, then educating our children is the only solution to organ donation becoming the everyday norm. In a world that has become obsessed with our outer appearance and possessions, who better to talk to our kids about their health and wellbeing than a team of organs found in every one of us!

It’s my hope and conviction that by educating the children of today, we’re more likely to see a real social change tomorrow and for generations to come. After all, being an organ donor is one thing we can all do, giving us purpose even in the darkest hour, and allowing love to always live on.

But that’s not all; today we also pivot towards health for kids, so it’s not just about organ donation from here on. Thank you to all our partners and everyone who has supported the Orgamites over the past 10 years, plus a special thanks to Julie Williams and Carlos Balseiro for all their hard work and dedication.

Thank you to our partners which include Live Life Give Life, the Onassis Foundation, Canadian Blood Services, Team Margot, Giving to Help Others, Northern Ireland Donation, the Public Health Agency, the British Transplant Society and European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT).

My thanks go to:

Mark Calvert • Jeff Hall • Matthew Latchford • Anthony Rule • Dax Villanueva • Kate Watson • Luke Yates • Amy Turner • Mandy Venters • Tim Dingerson • Brendon Turner • Meryl Turner • Catherine Junor • Eva Tsaousidou • Hans Derk Pannen • Matthew Rowe • Sean McCallum • David Hastings • Chris Swift • Juan Wood • Jenny Ryan • Peggy John • Jamie Thompson Yaser Martini • Nadia Martini • Alexandros Morellas • Anastasia Stamatopoulou • Kanella Psychogiou • Eirini Skoufi • Catherine McKeown • David Thomson

Discover more at orgamites.com

#mightorgans #mightorgamites @mightyorgamites

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