This DonateLife Week (26 July – 2 August), people in Northern NSW are being urged to register as organ and tissue donors and talk to their loved ones about their decision to become a donor.
Mother of one, Jane Clare from Tweed Heads has been grateful every day for the last 14 years for the generous gift of organ donation.
“I am ever so grateful that it has given me a second chance at enjoying a life that I would never have had,” Jane said.
In 2006, Jane received a life-saving double lung transplant after battling with Cystic Fibrosis since she was a baby.
Diagnosed at only 9 months old, Cystic Fibrosis is a disorder causing severe damage to the lungs and resulted in Jane living with reduced lung capacity for a long time.
Receiving a lung transplant was the only option to improve Jane’s quality of life.
“Before my transplant, getting out of bed was a struggle and walking upstairs was impossible.
“At the time I probably only had 6-12 months to live.
“It was so incredible, my life changed. Now I enjoy food whereas before I was on supplement drinks for a couple of years prior to my transplant. I swim, play tennis three times a week and walk every day which I just couldn’t do before.
“I’ve been able to enjoy all the milestones that I would never have been around to see like seeing my son graduate and turn 21.”
Joining the Australian Organ Donor Register gives hope to the 1,700 Australians, like Jane, that are currently waiting for a life-saving or life-changing organ or tissue transplant.
Donation Specialist Medical, Dr Mike Lindley Jones, asks people to not only join the register, but to make their wishes known to their loved ones.
“Registration is so important because it leaves families in no doubt of their loved one’s wish to be an organ and tissue donor,” Dr Mike Lindley Jones said.
“We know that in 9 out of 10 cases, families agree to donation when their family member is a registered donor,” Dr Lindley Jones said. Roughly half of Northern NSW adults are currently registered donors.
While this is higher than the national average of 1 in 3, the NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service encourages everyone to consider registering.
“Organ donation is the greatest gift you could ever give. It’s so important that your family know your wishes,” Jane said.
You can no longer register via the NSW driver’s licence. Joining the Australian Organ Donor Register only takes a minute with your Medicare card at donatelife.gov.au.