Former Tweed Heads flight attendant and Indigenous woman, Katrina Rendell, was always fit and active until she discovered she had kidney disease about three years ago.
Receiving dialysis at The Tweed Hospital, Katrina encouraged others to become an organ donor while there’s still the chance to make a choice.
“I implore people to take responsibility and make the decision to become an organ donor before you’re in an unfortunate situation where your loved ones have to guess what your wishes are,” Katrina said.
This DonateLife week is a great opportunity to talk about organ and tissue donation with friends and family, and the difference it can make to someone on a transplant waiting list.
“This is life-changing stuff. Visiting The Tweed Hospital three times a week for a five-hour long dialysis treatment is not an easy road, but I am grateful that it maintains my life. Every time I come here, it extends my life. I would die in a week if not for this.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are nine times as likely as non-indigenous Australians to be receiving kidney dialysis. Figures from June 2018 show that only 13 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people registered for Renal Replacement Therapy received transplants, compared to 51 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people requiring a kidney transplant are more likely to benefit from a transplant from an Aboriginal person, due to a better match. However, for cultural reasons, some people find it a difficult topic to talk about,” Dr Mike Lindley-Jones, Northern NSW LHD Donation Specialist Medical, said.
“Registering to become an organ and tissue donor gives hope to those whose lives depend on receiving a transplant.”
Joining the Australian Organ Donor Register gives hope to the 1,400 Australians, like Ms Rendell, who are currently awaiting a life-saving or life-changing organ or tissue transplant.
“One person can change the lives of eight people by becoming an organ donor. It’s an incredible and an amazing gift and has the ability to change the lives of so many people. I would be so grateful for that gift myself,” Katrina said.
In the last decade, more than 11,000 Australians have had their lives saved as a result of a transplant.
To join the Australian Organ Donor Register, or for more information visit donatelife.gov.au.
DonateLife Week runs from Sunday 28 July to Sunday 4 August 2019.