The gift of life

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Ri­fici

TAMMIE Heedes en­sured af­ter her 12-year-old son died from an asthma at­tack that his fi­nal wish to be­come an or­gan donor was granted.

Her son Christo­pher was like any other child: he loved taek­wondo, cheer­lead­ing and cricket.

But at eight, Christo­pher started hav­ing asthma in­duced seizures on and off for four years un­til one day, an episode stopped his heart.

“They (the doc­tors) be­lieved he wasn’t get­ting enough oxy­gen be­cause he was hav­ing an asthma at­tack and his brain was stop­ping every­thing to restart it­self and re­boot; this hap­pened on and off from eight through to 12,” the East Fre­man­tle woman said.

Christo­pher died on June 24, 2017 — three weeks be­fore his 13th birth­day — but be­fore his death, he told his mother he wanted to be­come an or­gan donor.

“He said ‘if any­thing hap­pens to me, I’d like to be­come a donor and I’d like some­one else to live when I can’t live’ and I thought that’s so beau­ti­ful,” Ms Heedes said.

Christo­pher do­nated six of his or­gans, which helped Ms Heedes and her fam­ily move for­ward know­ing “he was liv­ing on in oth­ers”.

DonateLife un­veiled a 3mtall Life Project sculp­ture at City Beach fore­shore last week to honour or­gan and tis­sue donors and their fam­i­lies who self­lessly save and trans­form the lives of oth­ers.

DonateLife act­ing State med­i­cal di­rec­tor Si­mon Towler said he hoped the sculp­ture would be­come a dis­cus­sion point and “a cat­a­lyst for ac­tion”.

“No one should die wait­ing for a trans­plant and we en­cour­age West Aus­tralians to make this the mo­ment to regis­ter as an or­gan donor,” he said.

Cam­bridge Mayor Keri Shan­non said the sculp­ture would en­cour­age dis­cus­sion about the “im­por­tance of pass­ing on the gift of life”.

Tammie Heedes’ 12-year-old son Christo­pher was an or­gan donor. Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

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