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:
2. 4,000 and climbing. You are so beautiful. This is true community. This is how we are all connected and can help one another. Organ donation is the ultimate legacy. I am thinking of my donor right now because she is the reason I'm alive. #organdonation #recycleyourself— Orla Tinsley (@orlatinsley) September 19, 2018
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.
We're still working hard to get everyone's Donor Cards sent out to them, but did you know we have a Digital Organ Donor card app that you can download? Find out more here: https://t.co/vggQ4mNGNT #OrganDonation pic.twitter.com/w473eeFB67— Irish Kidney Association (@IrishKidneyAs) September 19, 2018
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.