Meet Adam Garnett – 45 years old, husband, father of four lovely kids, and the recipient of a donated organ.
You may already know Adam. He was one of many government workers who came to the aid of Cassowary Coast communities in 2006 when Cyclone Larry paid us a visit. Like many of us hit by that disaster, Adam didn’t feel too good, and put it down to tiredness and the huge workload of the cyclone recovery effort. But then some tell-tale symptoms showed themselves, and the doctor told Adam they were signs of kidney disease.
He was put on dialysis – something he learned to do for himself – and was told he might wait five years or more for a transplant. That’s because organ donation rates are low in Australia, and only a small percentage of donors die in circumstances where donation is viable.
But it only took a year – he got the call in the middle of the night and was in a Brisbane hospital next morning being wheeled in to an operating theatre where, waiting in what looked like an ordinary blue esky, was the kidney that would change, and save, his life.
Before his illness, Adam had decided he would say yes to the organ donor option on his driving licence. Not surprisingly, he hopes you will make that decision too, and make sure your family knows about your wishes. It is, Adam says, a chance to be a hero.
Adam mentions a story broadcast by the ABC TV Four Corners program about organ donation – you can watch that report at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2013/04/08/3729893.htm
Information about transplants in Australia at http://www.transplant.org.au/
and looking after your kidneys at http://www.kidney.org.au/
and organ donation in Australia at http://www.donatelife.gov.au/home