Korea: Christians, Buddhists hold organ donation campaign

 Inspired by the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan's donation of his eyes upon his death, Buddhist, Christian and civic groups in Korea have begun a joint organ donation campaign.

On Sunday evening, campaigners distributed leaflets to passersby and receiving donation applications at the entrance of Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul.

Among the 13 organizations who have joined the campaign are the Buddhist-run Life Share Association, Seoul Catholic Archdiocese's One-body One-spirit Movement, and the Protestant-run Korean Organ Donor Program.

These groups, which encourage organ donations in the country, are also running campaigns in Busan and Gwangju cities. The national Korean Broadcasting System has broadcast the news widely.

Cardinal Kim died on 16 February. Soon afterwards, news broke out that he had donated his eyes to two patients. This led to a rush in organ donation pledges, local media reported.

Sister Juliana Jung was among those who signed up to donate her organs on 7 March. The nun, who decided to donate her eyes, said: "I am encouraged by the deceased cardinal. A blind person being able to see the world through my eyes means a 'resurrection.'" About 20 nuns from her Sisters of St Paul of Chartres congregation also made pledges.

Venerable Bubhee of the Jogye Order, the largest Buddhist denomination in the country, also pledged to donate his eyes and other organs upon death. "It is really good to see religions leading people to donate their organs. Such a joint campaign is possible thanks to the late Cardinal Kim," he said.

Ahn Jeong-in, director of the planning division of the Korean Network for Organ Sharing (KONOS), said it was the first time that such a campaign was televised live.

The One-body One-spirit Movement told UCA News it managed to collect a total of 162 donation pledges.

According to KONOS, as of last January, 14,509 patients were waiting for an organ. The governmental institute also reported that only 545,705 people, or 1.16 percent of South Korea's population, have so far registered to donate their organs upon death.

Source: UCAN

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