Sim­ple prom­ise a life-changer

Trans­plant re­cip­i­ent Olivia Steele is en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to pledge a life-sav­ing do­na­tion on the eve of the Aus­tralian Trans­plant Games.

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee

Or­gan do­na­tion has al­lowed me to live my life again and be happy

OLIVIA Steele owes her life to an or­gan donor she has never met.

The 14-year-old, of Glen­den­ning, was born with a rare liver dis­ease and doc­tors said she may not see her first birth­day.

The now healthy teenager is fea­tured in Gifted, a new campaign for Trans­plant Aus­tralia which aims to pro­mote or­gan and tis­sue do- na­tion in the lead-up to the Aus­tralian Trans­plant Games in Western Syd­ney in Septem­ber.

Olivia and her fam­ily waited more than seven months for a donor, and re­ceived that much-an­tic­i­pated call just be­fore she turned one.

Mother Lisa Steele said they had al­most given up hope.

“At first we were jump­ing at ev­ery phone call but af­ter seven months we were think- ing ‘it is never go­ing to hap­pen’,” she said.

Be­fore her trans­plant Olivia had 23 ad­mis­sions to hos­pi­tal and weighed just 5.6kg. She spent three months in hos­pi­tal re­cov­er­ing from the surgery.

Olivia still re­quires daily med­i­ca­tion but she has be­come a tal­ented ath­lete, trav­el­ling the world to dance and com­pet­ing in state and na­tional swimming car­ni­vals.

She said she now ded­i­cated her life to rais­ing aware­ness for or­gan do­na­tion by com­pet­ing in the Aus­tralian Trans­plant Games ev­ery year.

“Or­gan do­na­tion has al­lowed me to live my life again and be happy; com­pet- ing at the Games lets me see that I am just like ev­ery­one else and I get to live a nor­mal, happy life,” she said.

“I en­cour­age all Aus­tralians to donate their or­gans to save other peo­ple’s lives. Or­gan do­na­tion has changed my life.”

Mrs Steele also en­cour­aged ev­ery­one to reg­is­ter as an or­gan donor.

De­tails: do­natelife.gov.au or aus­traliantrans­plantgames.com.

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