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Steady rise in organ donor pledges

Dramatic increase in numbers 'inspired by the example of religious figures'

  • Stephen Hong, Seoul
  • Korea
  • July 8, 2011
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Campaigns to increase the number of organ donors have been vitalized by the influence of religious figures including the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, an interreligious workshop was told today.

The Korea Donate Life Network (KODONET), a national interreligious organization, was holding the workshop today in Seoul to review progress in attracting new organ donors.

KODONET was launched last September by the One-body One-spirit Movement (OBOS) -- Seoul archdiocese's social welfare arm -- and by Buddhist organ donation organization Life Share Association and Vitallink, a transplant experts' group.

During a presentation, Chung Young-hun an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said the number of registered organ donors rose from 47,769 in 2000 to 722,731 in 2010 -- a 15-fold increase over the decade.

It is mainly thanks to organ donations made by religious leaders including the late Cardinal Kim, he noted.

Another speaker, Venerable Ilmyun, president of the Life Share Association, said the number of Buddhists who have come forward to pledge organs has grown significantly after the late Venerable Bubjang, former chief executive of the Buddhist Jogye Order, donated his organs in 2005.

Lately, Buddhist monks have been registering since Venerable Jaseung, current chief executive of the largest Buddhist denomination, promised to donate his organs last March, he added.

Father Joseph Kim Yong-tae, director- general of the OBOS, meanwhile warned the gathering there should be no let-up in trying to increase donor numbers.

People must be made aware of what a noble cause it is, he said.

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