Donor ‘chat’ may save lives


Kidney kid: Jack Wilson’s life was transformed by a kidney transplant at the age of 2.

ROTARY clubs on the Mornington Peninsula are among 1100 across Australia urging families to “have the chat” about organ and tissue donation with their loved ones and register their donation decisions during DonateLife Week.

Rotary’s participation in the week was prompted by the story of Jack Wilson, grandson of one of the 21 Rotary District Governors in Australia.

He was born with nephrotic syndrome, a congenital kidney disease causing lengthy hospital stays. Jack had to return to hospital initially five days each week for four-hour sessions of protein infusion, then 10 hours home dialysis every night.

From three days after his birth in mid-2013 he had a tube protruding from his body – no bath, no beach, no pool – until, at the age of 21 months, his life was transformed by the gift of a kidney.

“For Jack, a new kidney has meant a return to normal eating, boundless energy and no more lines, with their risk of infection, mother Tammy Wilson said. “It’s such an incredible gift. We know that he will need more kidney transplants throughout his life, but for now we’re excited and hopeful for his future.”

Professor Jonathan Craig, of Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, said Australia was a world leader in organ-and-tissue transplants – a position dependent “on the compassion of ordinary Australians who make a decision which enables us to change lives”.

Rotary Club of Frankston Long Island president Penny Sayer said each organ-and-tissue donor could transform the lives of 10 or more people. “It’s important to go onto the internet and register your donation decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and, importantly, that you share your decision with those closest to you,” she said. “Registered organ donors are truly a gift to the world.

“To optimise every potential organ-and-tissue donor, we each need to have the chat with our family members so that we know each other’s donation decision.

“It can make a life-saving difference to those waiting for a transplant. It can be the difference between seeing and being blind, mobility and never walking again.”

In Australia, families are always asked to confirm the donation decision of their loved ones before transplants can proceed.

“Families that have discussed and know each other’s donation decisions are much more likely to support donations proceeding,” Ms Sayer said.

“This is a conversation that could one day save lives.”

DonateLife Week is Australia’s national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation. It is led by the Organ and Tissue Authority.

See or call the Rotary Club of Frankston Long Island 0415 109 859.

For information on Jack ring Maurie Stack 0427 668 821.

First published in the Western Port News – 28 July 2015


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