Thank­ful for gift of life

Southern Telegraph - - NEWS - Pierra Wil­lix

For Bal­divis mother Gina Wil­liams, the gen­eros­ity of a fam­ily who chose to do­nate their loved one’s heart is some­thing she thinks about ev­ery day.

In 2016, af­ter suf­fer­ing nearly 20 years of heart prob­lems, Mrs Wil­liams un­der­went a heart trans­plant.

At the age of just 21, a rou­tine surgery to re­move her wis­dom teeth ended in car­diac ar­rest, af­ter which it was dis­cov­ered she had prob­lems with her heart.

She spent six years on med­i­ca­tion to help re­duce her blood pres­sure, which seemed to be do­ing its job, un­til, when on a fam­ily trip to Dis­ney­land in Florida, she suf­fered a huge heart at­tack.

“I col­lapsed and then had a ma­jor stroke when I was in hos­pi­tal,” she said. “I had a long re­cov­ery from there, and had to learn how to talk, walk and eat again.

“It took me a year to be able to be able to speak again.”

A pace­maker was in­serted, but af­ter mov­ing to Aus­tralia, Mrs Wil­liams was told that she was go­ing into heart fail­ure.

She was put on the or­gan trans­plant list, and three months later, a donor was found.

“Ev­ery day, I think of my donor, and ac­tu­ally wrote a let­ter to his par­ents, thank­ing them for what they did,” she said.

Af­ter los­ing her fa­ther when he was just 36 from a heart at­tack, Mrs Wil­liams said or­gan dona­tion was some­thing al­ways talked about within her fam­ily.

“We weren’t in a po­si­tion where we could have do­nated his or­gans, but I al­ways said I would like to be able to do­nate my­self,” she said.

Mrs Wil­liams en­cour­aged oth­ers to con­sider reg­is­ter­ing to be­come a donor to help give a life­sav­ing gift to some­one in need.

“With­out it, I wouldn’t have been here, or been able to be here for my son,” she said.

In the 10 years since the na­tional re­form pro­gram was in­tro­duced, or­gan dona­tion has more than dou­bled to 554 or­gan donors in 2018 com­pared to 247 or­gan donors in 2009.

The num­ber of trans­plant re­cip­i­ents has al­most dou­bled from 799 re­cip­i­ents in 2009 to 1544 re­cip­i­ents in 2018.

Mrs Wil­liams also spoke about a side to or­gan dona­tion not of­ten spo­ken about.

Anti- re­jec­tion med­i­ca­tion, re­quired so that her heart does not go into fail­ure, is a huge cost, leav­ing her more than $ 500 out of pocket each month.

The stroke she suf­fered has also af­fected her abil­ity to ob­tain and main­tain em­ploy­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to join the donor reg­is­ter, go to https:// do­natelife. gov. au.

Gina Wil­liams

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.