Half marathon with ‘shriv­elled’ lungs

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - ELEANOR WENMAN

Talk to your fam­ily about or­gan do­na­tion.

That’s the main mes­sage one woman has ahead of her half marathon to raise aware­ness about do­na­tion.

Ker­rie-Lynn Kerr along with four friends will be walk­ing the Hawke’s Bay In­ter­na­tional Half Marathon on May 13.

Kerr was in­spired to walk the event for aware­ness due to her own med­i­cal his­tory.

She had emer­gency heart surgery in 2003 but a side-ef­fect meant her lungs ‘‘shriv­elled’’.

‘‘The blood was pump­ing through the lungs twice [but]

The main mes­sage she wanted to pro­mote was to have a con­ver­sa­tion with your fam­ily about what to do with your or­gans when you die.

once the heart was fixed the lungs had to do half the work.’’

She has needed a lung trans­plant since 2005 and has been on a non-ac­tive list for the past few years.

Every few months the Lower Hutt woman flies to Auckland to see a trans­plant res­pi­ra­tory spe­cial­ist. Dur­ing one visit she was catch­ing up with friends when the idea to do the half marathon came up.

‘‘We were sit­ting there one night and we said ‘let’s do this for a cause’ and, with my his­tory, we de­cided or­gan do­na­tion was the best one.’’

Kerr started or­gan­is­ing T-shirts for her­self and a few friends tak­ing part. She found a spon­sor for the shirts, APS Ltd Com­plete Prop­erty Ser­vices and also co­or­di­nated with Or­gan Do­na­tion New Zealand for sup­port.

Two team mem­bers from the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­cently took part in Kerr’s warm-up walk in Auck- land’s Round the Bays.

The main mes­sage she wanted to pro­mote was to have a con­ver­sa­tion with your fam­ily about what to do with your or­gans when you die.

‘‘Peo­ple aren’t aware that fam­ily mem­bers can over­ride [your wishes].’’

It didn’t mat­ter what age you were, it was im­por­tant to be clear about what you wanted so if the worst hap­pened, your fam­ily knew what to do.

ODNZ donor co­or­di­na­tor Jan­ice Lang­lands was sup­port­ive of Kerr’s work. ‘‘Any­thing to raise aware­ness and en­cour­age fam­i­lies to have a con­ver­sa­tion while ev­ery­one’s there is great.’’

Ker­rie-Lynn Kerr is rais­ing aware­ness about or­gan do­na­tion.

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