Sarah Joyce of St Huberts Island is throwing her support behind DonateLife Week (July 25- August 1), aimed at reminding the community of the importance of registering to become an organ donor, following her own life-saving kidney transplant.
In 2016, Joyce contracted meningococcal and within 12 hours had lost her kidney function.
“For the following four years I spent 15-20 hours every week in hospital receiving dialysis,” she said.
“The feeling of being dependent on a dialysis machine to live is extremely hard, both mentally and physically.
“I had a kidney transplant one year ago and within a few days I had near perfect kidney function again.
“I call my kidney my little ripper – although it isn’t little, it is bigger than both my native kidneys put together.
“I am very lucky and so incredibly grateful to my donor’s family.
“I have many ongoing health issues as a result of contracting meningococcal and I don’t think I would have been able to physically or mentally get through them these past 12 months without the kidney transplant.”
Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) says there are around 13 million Australians aged 16 and over who are eligible to register as an organ and tissue donor – but haven’t.
CCLHD Donation Specialist Coordinator, Yoni Hope-Hodgetts, said there are currently around 1,800 Australians on the organ transplant waiting list, and a further 12,000 people on dialysis.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a direct impact on organ and tissue donation,” Hope-Hodgetts said.
“In 2020 there was a 12 per cent decrease in people receiving a transplant, a 16 per cent decrease in donors and a 16 per cent decrease in Australians registering as donors, in comparison to 2019.
“This means it’s never been more important to register as an organ and tissue donor and to encourage others to join you.
“Once you register it is important to let your family know of your decision.
“Families play a crucial role in the donation process because they are asked to confirm whether their loved one wanted to be a donor.
“We know that in 90 per cent of cases, families agree to donation when their family member is a registered donor.
“We are incredibly grateful to those families who have generously said yes to organ donation at such a difficult time in their lives.”
Register to be a donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register at donatelife.gov.au
Media release, July 28
Central Coast Local Health District