Kidney donation gives Mossman resident new life
KIDNEY transplant recipient Donna Elliott feared she would not live long enough to receive the gift of life.
When both of her kidneys failed in 2004, the Mossman mother-of-three was told there was a five-year waiting list for a donor.
"It’s extremely difficult not knowing whether you’re going to survive," Ms Elliott (pictured) said.
She started life-saving dialysis treatment and hoped a match would be found sooner rather than later.
Ms Elliott’s weight dropped dramatically and she suffered severe headaches and vomiting.
Fortunately for her, it took just two-and-a-half years to find a donor match in a 22-year-old man who died in an accident.
During Donate Life Week, which started on Sunday, Ms Elliott is urging Australians to save more lives by discussing with their families their wish to be an organ and tissue donor.
"If people could see the before and after, they would see the gift families and donors give," she said.
Ms Elliott’s life changed when she was woken at 1am in October 2007 with the news that a donor match had been found.
She was flown to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital within hours for transplant surgery.
The young man’s organs went to multiple other recipients, Ms Elliott said.
Each year, on the anniversary of her kidney transplant, she writes to thank his family.
"Because of their gift I have lived a life that wasn’t going to happen," the 52-year-old said, adding she has since become a grandmother.
"I never thought I would see my 50th birthday."
Dr Emma Hothersall, medical director of organ and tissue donation for northern Queensland, said there are about 20 people in the region waiting for an organ donation.
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Living life: Donna Elliott is eternally thankful to her donor of a kidney. Picture: STEWART McLEAN