The gift of life
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