In 2014 at the WI National AGM a mandate on increasing organ donation was passed with a 98% majority. From the proposal from Standon and Coates Heath WI, Staffordshire Federation, the following was agreed:
“The NFWI notes that three people die every day whilst waiting for an organ transplant. We call on every member of the WI to make their wishes regarding organ donation known, and to encourage their families and friends, and members of their local communities to do likewise”.
Nationally, the WI encouraged members to start talking about organ donation. This campaign is not about encouraging people to donate but rather make their wishes clear to their loved ones; this can often be a difficult conversation. Before voting for this resolution, we published a blog post with facts about this important proposal.
To get the Sotonettes WI, a predominantly younger group of women, talking about organ donation we took a slightly different approach. At our February 2015 meeting we invited Tim Groom to introduce us to the idea of Death Cafes. It was a fascinating evening making us all think and talk about death including what we will be wearing, bucket lists, funerals and organ donation.
There was such interest in this event that we agreed to organise a second Death Cafe. Christina Welch, University of Winchester, facilitated the evening where many members of the general public attended. It was a time to talk in a safe and confidential environment about people’s experiences of death and dying. It was an emotional and thought-provoking evening including coffins as furniture to help introduce children to the idea of death. If you are interested in attending or hosting a cafe, the Death Cafe website holds a central database to find one in your area or help you promote one.
As well as donation after death, the Sotonettes have also talked about what members could do now. This includes donating whole blood, platelets and bone marrow. For details on giving blood and platelets please see NHS Blood and Transplant, and Organ Donation for other living donations.