Donna liv­ing proof or­gan do­na­tion can save your life

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALL­BONE

IT ONLY takes one per­son to make a dif­fer­ence in some­one’s and it only takes one or­gan donor to save ten lives.

For Juwunkarra Fam­ily Sup­port Ser­vice worker and Moss­man mother of three Donna El­liott, her or­gan donor saved her life when she was strug­gling with kid­ney fail­ure in 2005.

“I was ex­tremely ill, my weight dropped down to 43kg and I was on a home dial­y­sis ma­chine ev­ery day,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Do­nateLife Queens­land there are over 1700 Aus­tralians cur­rently wait­ing for life sav­ing or­gan trans­plants.

Fifty of those wait­ing are chil­dren and more than one per­son will die ev­ery week wait­ing for an or­gan.

Donna had made the de­ci­sion to go on the trans­plant list and waited al­most two years to re­ceive a kid­ney.

“We made the de­ci­sion to go on the trans­plant list as my ill­ness was se­ri­ously af­fect­ing my health and my fam­ily,” she said.

“There was con­stant vom­it­ing, headaches, weight loss, loss of en­ergy and emo­tional pres­sures on ev­ery­body.”

Po­lice no­ti­fied her at 1am on Oc­to­ber 20, 2007 that an or­gan was wait­ing for her in Bris­bane and to get there as soon as pos­si­ble.

Her fam­ily flew to Bris­bane at 5.30am and she re­ceived her kid­ney trans­plant the same day.

“I get teary when I talk about it still af­ter all these years. The dif­fer­ence that it made in our lives is un­be­liev­able,” she said. “This is the first time in a long time that I felt like a strong and healthy woman, my chil­dren have their mother back, my hus­band has his wife back and I am now a grand­mother - he saved my life.”

Min­is­ter for Hu­man Ser­vices Tanya

My chil­dren have their mother back, my hus­band has his wife back and I am now a grand­mother - he saved my life

– Donna El­liott

kid­ney donor re­cip­i­ent

Donna El­liott Plibersek said new Or­gan and Tis­sue Author­ity re­search shows that of the ma­jor­ity of or­gan and tis­sue donors, less than half have reg­is­tered their do­na­tion de­ci­sion.

“The 5.7 mil­lion Aus­tralian who have reg­is­tered their do­na­tion de­ci­sion are en­cour­aged to check and update their reg­is­tra­tion de­tails and en­sure fam­ily mem­bers know and ac­cept their do­na­tion de­ci­sion,” she said.

Clin­i­cal Nurse Con­sul­tant from Do­nateLife Queens­land Loren Gin­ders said that the most im­por­tant mes­sage is that peo­ple need to in­form their fam­ily mem­bers about their de­ci­sion to do­nate or­gans and reg­is­ter that de­ci­sion.

“It is also im­por­tant for peo­ple to know that it is no longer shown on their driver li­cence, a lot of peo­ple still think that by tick­ing the box it means you are an or­gan donor, but it is now re­garded as un­in­formed con­sent,” she said.

“We need to be able to ask fam­ily mem­bers, part­ner or friends about your wishes to en­sure to that your wish to do­nate is car­ried out.”

To reg­is­ter on the Aus­tralian Or­gan Donor Reg­is­ter or to update your de­tails visit www.donor­reg­is­ter.gov.au , a Medi­care of­fice or call 1800 777 203.

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