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Outreach   /  Richard Todd (Toddy)

Dying to Live

The organ transplant waiting game. One donor - hero to many.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Richard Todd (Toddy)

  • PRODUCER Ben McNeill



Despite surveys in Australia showing that more than 80% of people think it’s important to register as an organ and tissue donor, the actual registration rate averages around 34%. Many Australians don’t even realise that the old system of registering on your driver’s license was abolished in most states, and they need to sign up via the official website. This leaves more than 1,400 people continually on a waiting list. Dying to Live follows the lives of seven families impacted by organ and tissue donations. It compels the audience to face the reality of life and death and to consider their own capacity for becoming a physical philanthropist.

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The Caledonia Foundation $50,000.00
Michael Darling $50,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

At any point in time in Australia 1400 people are on the transplant waiting list – waiting for a valuable physical donation that could save their lives. Despite surveys showing that more than 80% of Australians think it’s important to register as an organ and tissue donor, the registration average is around just 34%. That puts Australia at about 22 in the world in terms of donors. And yet Australia is a world leader in organ donation research. This film shows the urgency and process for the organ and tissue transplant process. It seeks to encourage more Australians to become potential lifesavers, hero to many, by agreeing to donate their organs and tissue. It compels the audience to think about life and death and to consider their own capacity for physical philanthropy.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

An Australia in which the need for organs and tissues is met, due to a sufficient number of registered donors.
An Australia in which “Dying to Live” helps to raise awareness and motivate the community to sign on to the Australian Organ Donor Register and discuss their decision with their families and loved ones.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We hope that this documentary inspires its audience to immediately sign up to become an organ or tissue donor and to "have the chat" with families and friends about their intentions. We know that a large number of transplants do not go ahead when the family does not know in advance that a person has signed up to become an organ donor.

We hope the documentary will be used to inform and encourage a healthy discussion around mortality and dying and the impact that you can have on someone else’s life simply by agreeing to become a donor.

We also hope this documentary will be used in schools and universities as a training program for younger Australians.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We are seeking to work with a range of organisations that can provide targeted screenings to health care workers, industry professionals and interest groups to increase knowledge and understanding of the challenges of organ donation.

At key screenings, organ donor information and sign up forms are available to help make it easier for audiences to sign up on the spot.

We are seeking to work with sporting bodies and other interested groups on a social media campaign to help amplify the messages from the documentary and encourage more people to sign up and have the chat about organ and tissue donation.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have worked with a number of organisations throughout development of the documentary and are continuing to work with peak bodies and relevant hospitals and healthcare organisations.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. Sign up for organ and tissue donation and tell their families of their decision

2. Advocate for adequate resources and staffing in hospitals so that there are no barriers to a transplant whenever there is a donor available.

3. Inspire healthier conversations about living and death.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

20% of audiences seeing the film will sign up for organ donation

Five screenings in the next 12 months directly to the healthcare sector

Film is used in tertiary courses and high schools to help students better understand the transplant process.