With a second lease on life following a liver transplant two years ago, Killarney Vale’s Rob Manning is on a journey to spread the word and educate people about organ and tissue donation.
His own story started with a visit to the GP and despite feeling fit, his wife thought he didn’t look well.
Diagnosed with end-stage liver disease, Manning found himself at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Deteriorating rapidly, he was told if he didn’t have a transplant within 12 months, he would be dead.
In 2021, while at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, he slipped into a coma. Two weeks later he woke up with a new liver.
“I needed a miracle,” he said.
November 19 was DonateLife Thank You Day, a day that celebrates the families of those who made the brave decision to donate their loved ones’ organs or tissues so that another person could live.
Manning says these people are the real heroes.
“Thank You Day is such a big and important day,” he said.
“People don’t set out in the morning to become an organ donor and for the families, it might be the first time they have ever thought about it.
“This is why Thank You Day is so important; I wouldn’t be here if the family had not agreed to organ donation.”
Two Central Coast MPs agree.
Labor MP for The Entrance David Mehan and Liberal MP for Terrigal Adam Crouch co-chair the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Organ Donation aimed at raising awareness of the need for changes to state legislation, education and communication around organ donation.
In 2022 the group met for the first time and a key initiative launched was a rule in the Service NSW app for 5.2 million people in NSW to be able to register to be an organ donor.
The initiative resulted in a two per cent increase in organ donations and consent rates in NSW during 2022.
“As a direct consequence of the work by David and Adam the NSW Parliament has agreed to review the 2012 NSW plan to increase donation awareness as we have been in decline since 2018,” Manning said.
An amendment to the NSW Tissue Act is expected to be passed soon in the Parliament by the Speaker of the House Greg Piper in another initiative that has resulted from advocacy to improve donations.
“We are blessed here on the Central Coast to have two MPs from opposite ends willing to work with me to raise awareness,” Manning said.
As the founder and senior advocate for www.transplantadvocacy.com, Manning is a passionate outspoken advocate for organ and tissue donation and transplant awareness in Australia and around the world.
“I have learned so much from the amazing people involved.
“From other recipients, living donors, physicians, clinicians, administrators, politicians, volunteers and perhaps the group I have learned most from is deceased donor’s families.
“Despite millions of dollars spent on awareness for organ donor registration, wellness and sporting activities for recipients and administration of a system to facilitate organ donation and transplants, numbers in Australia are not improving like in other countries.
“It is from the families of deceased organ donors who had no idea that they were to become a part of the transplant journey, that I have gained the most insight from.
“Some had seen an advertisement or some other story about becoming an organ donor.
“Some had ticked the box on their driver’s licence many years ago and thought nothing more about it.
“Some had even more recently registered via Australian Organ and Tissue Authority DonateLife.
“All had been asked if they would give their consent to their loved ones organs to be donated to save the lives of strangers after a tragic event and learning of the passing of a loved one.
“I am very grateful for the support I have received on my journey and the opportunity to personally benefit from participating in many activities that set out to raise awareness for life saving transplants.”