Orla Tinsley\'s documentary boosted donor card applications

Orla Tinsley's documentary boosted donor card applicationsIMAGE: RTE

It has been called the greatest possible act of generosity and Irish people are signing up in their droves to help others after their deaths.

The inspiration has come from one woman: journalist and campaigner Orla Tinsley. Orla, who has cystic fibrosis (CF), underwent a double lung transplant earlier this year. She had moved to New York to study in Columbia University, before falling ill. Her life-saving transplant was a case of seventh time lucky, after six devastating false alarms. A documentary crew filmed her story for 14 months and, following the airing of the resulting programme on RTE, over 5,00 – and counting - applications for donor cards have been made across Ireland.

Earlier this week Orla had tweeted her delight at the response:

The Irish Kidney Association was overwhelmed (in many senses!) by the demand. It tweeted to assure applicants that it was on the case but also mentioned that there is a digital donor card available. You can get one here.

According to Mark Murphy, chief executive of the IKA, they would usually receive would receive between 20 and 50 requests for organ donor cards on a normal day. Four days after the documentary aired they are dealing with 5,000.

There have been calls for Ireland to adopt an opt-out system for donation (meaning consent to donate is presumed unless otherwise stated). For now, if you feel strongly that you want to be a donor, it's important to carry a card and discuss your wishes with loved ones.

Missed the documentary? You can watch it on the RTE Player until 17 October 

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