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The gift of life honoured at Fraser Coast Organ Donation Service of Remembrance

Monday 21 November 2022

Hervey Bay Organ Donation Service of Remembrance
An Organ Donation Service of Remembrance was held at Fraser Coast Anglican College in Hervey Bay on 19 November, bringing local donor families and transplant recipients together to celebrate the tremendous gift they have all been touched by.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service (WBHHS) and DonateLife came together with the Fraser Coast community to recognise and celebrate the life-giving gift of organ and tissue donation.

An Organ Donation Service of Remembrance was held at Fraser Coast Anglican College in Hervey Bay on 19 November, bringing local donor families and transplant recipients together to celebrate the tremendous gift they have all been touched by.

Donor families wore red ribbons while recipients and their families wore green ribbons, WBHHS Donation Specialist Nurse Coordinator Ian Rogers advised.

“Despite wearing different coloured ribbons, and having different backgrounds and medical experiences, both recipients and donor families came together to recognise the selfless and lifesaving nature of organ and tissue donation,” Mr Rogers said.

“The aim of the service was to connect those touched by organ donation, raise awareness, and most importantly, to celebrate those who gave the most selfless gift possible and those whose lives have changed forever because of that precious gift.

“Organ donation is a truly special and compassionate act, enduring beyond one person by providing life to another.”

This compassionate act was recognised during the service with a candle lighting ceremony, where candles were presented by donor recipients, lit by donor families, and remained lit for the duration of the service as a reminder of the powerful and enduring gift being honoured.

Bunnings kindly provided peace lilies which were presented to donor families by the recipients in attendance as a sign of gratitude for the decision they made and upheld in allowing their loved one’s organs to be donated.

Representatives from WBHHS, DonateLife as well as donor families and recipients spoke at the service, sharing information, a poem and stories about the impact and importance of organ and tissue donation. Sam, a Fraser Coast man who received a kidney transplant in 2021, spoke at the service, speaking on behalf of transplant recipients to express gratitude and to describe how humbling receiving an organ is for those in need.

“It is not always easy to express the gratitude you feel for the extra chance at life you’ve been given. But today is a day we can do this, to publicly thank our donor and their family for their selfless decision,” Sam said.

“The donor families gathered here today, and across Australia, are the real heroes in my eyes. Donors make an incredible choice in ticking that box and making it known they’d like their organs donated, but it is their families who need to be recognised for their strength and courage.

“During an incredible difficult time, donor families put their grief and their own feelings aside and save lives by honoring their loved one’s wishes.

“I was lucky to receive a kidney transplant in 2021; a lifechanging gift that has extended my life and impacted so many people outside of myself.

“That’s the thing that more people need to be aware of. In extending my life, my donor and their family also impacted my family and community. Because of their humbling gift, I am able to help those in my community, participate in activities that benefit others, and ensure I honour that gift each and every day in the choices I make and the life I lead.

“In my case, organ donation is not a cure. I am in the next phase of my treatment, and this gift has extended my life to give me a better chance at living.

“For someone else, like a child, the gift of a transplant simply can’t be measured. Who knows what that child may go on to achieve; the potential that lives in them? Organ donation may provide an opportunity for a child to change the world. An opportunity that may have gone unrealised if not for the selflessness of an organ donor and their family.

“So thank you, to everyone who has had to make the tough decision of donating your loved one’s organs. And thank you to those who have received that gift, for cherishing and honouring it by living your life to the fullest.”

As Sam stated, registered organ and tissue donors can be the last chance for significantly unwell people to overcome their condition and extend their lives.

“Anyone over the age of 16 can register their intent to donate their organs,” Mr Rogers said.

“From the age of 18, people can register to donate their organs and tissue, only taking 60 seconds and Medicare card information.

“It’s important to talk to your family about your decision to ensure they understand your wishes and can uphold them should the opportunity arise to help others through organ and tissue donation.

“One person who donates their organs and tissue has the potential to save up to seven people. It truly is an enduring legacy and this Service of Remembrance offers a time and space where we can gather all families together, both donor and recipient families, whoa re touched by organ donation to celebrate the amazing gift of life.”

To find out more about organ donation or to register as a donor, visit www.donatelife.gov.au

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Last updated: 21 November 2022