Death marks the end of the road for many, but organ donors choose to give life to others through their donations, said Voice of Women president Chew Hoong Ling.
“To me, it is the moment after death that is very important. If you donate your organs, they live on in other people's bodies,” said the passionate advocate of organ donation, urging people to step forward and make a difference.
Chew, who donated 60% of her liver to a child three years ago, said Malaysia was still woefully lacking sufficient organ donors, leading to human organ trading syndicates and a rise in human trafficking.
She lauded the decisions of deceased cancer patients Lim Kian, 67, and Low Siew Yeok, 47, who had pledged their bodies to science in order to help doctors save other patients.
Lim and Low, dubbed the “Silent Mentors”, were Malaysia's first pair of donated cadavers.
They were given a respectful send-off by their loved ones and the doctors who practiced on them at the University Malaya Medical Centre.
Chew, whose organization runs the organ donation campaign “Spread Love, Save Lives”, said donors' actions would go a long way towards boosting the country towards better medical science advancement.
“The level of medical research in Malaysia is still very low, including in terms of resources such as human bodies.
“You won't know how many lives the results of that research could eventually save. Even when you die, you give life to so many people,” she said, adding that medical science advancement depended on research.
However, she said she was encouraged by Malaysians, who told her they had already signed up to donate their whole bodies.
She said there were thousands of people waiting for organs in the country, with kidney patients topping the list.
Chew added that not everyone who pledged their organs would end up as a successful donor, adding that the factors included having healthy organs and the right medical facilities at the time of death.
Several avenues to volunteer as a donor include registering with the Malaysian Society of Transplantation (www.mst.org.my), National Transplant Resource Centre (www.agiftoflife.gov.my) or calling 1800-88-9080.