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Organ donation a chance for normal life for Abigail

31 July 2018

You don’t need to be a doctor or nurse this DonateLife Week (Sunday 29 July - Sunday 5 August) to make a difference.

That is message of DonateLife Queensland and one that Townsville Hospital cystic fibrosis patient 18-year old Abigail Chase knows too well.

Abigail had battled cystic fibrosis, a condition affecting the lungs, since she was born until receiving a life-saving lung transplant in July last year, only seven days after being put on the transplant list.

“The lung transplant didn’t just change my life, it gave me a life and it was thanks to somebody who made the decision to donate their organs,” she said.

“I was bed bound before, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t work, I couldn’t go out with friends, I was in and out of hospital and couldn’t just be a normal 17-year-old.

“I was really excited, nervous and scared when I got the news there was a pair of lungs for me; every emotion was amplified.

“I knew I could die during the procedure but also knew there was a chance I could have a whole future ahead of me.”

Abigail said that since the transplant she had stopped dreaming about her future and begun planning it.

“It has added decades onto my life,” she said.

“I used to be fully dependent on my mum but now I have been able to start working which I love and in August I will be commencing study.

“I hope to one day open my own café; that is my ultimate dream.”

Townsville Hospital Donation Specialist Nurse Coordinator Rhonda Farley said people like Abigail were a great example of why organ donation was so important.

“We want to let the community know that it is now faster and easier than even to join the Australian Organ Donor Register,” she said.

“By doing so you could make a significant difference to the life of someone just like Abigail.

“We already know that residents in the region overwhelmingly support organ and tissue donation, but most haven’t gotten around to registering their decision.

“Since last year Queenslanders can register their decision to be an organ donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register online which makes the process simple.”

Abigail said that she was passionate about the message of registering to be an organ donor.

“If it weren’t for my lung transplant I would have had only months to live which is why I tell people not to think twice; it will save a life,” she said.

“One person’s organs can save multiple lives with different organs going to different people.

“Since the organ donation which resulted in my lung transplant I’m still myself but a better version, I have more energy for everyday life and am living like a normal 18-year-old.

“I really encourage people to register their decision to be an organ donor this Donate Life Week, it has changed my life and it can change somebody else’s too.”

People can sign up to the Australian Organ Donor Register by visiting donatelife.gov.au

Last updated: 15 August 2018