Shane applauds gift of organ donation

By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

SHANE Brown took a deep breath to explain the importance of organ donation ? and he was lucky he could.

As the recipient of a lung transplant eight years ago, Shane said it was 'the greatest gift' anyone could give.

'It's one of the greatest things ever ? one family's loss can save others' lives,' he said.

'It's a sad time when someone loses a family member, but if they can help with a gift like this they have the chance to wake up and realise they've made a huge difference to someone's life.'

Gladstone residents will have noticed Organ Donor Register forms in their mail this week as part of a nationwide campaign to boost organ donation rates.

In 2004, there were 218 organ donors from whom 783 people received transplants and in January this year, more than 1500 people were on the organ transplant waiting list.

But Mr Brown was lucky. On May 27, 1997 he received a lung transplant, which has given him a new lease on life.

'I suffered from cystic fibrosis from six months of age, and I was going fine all through school until my senior year when I came down with influenza and didn't treat it ? I ended up on oxygen and it was no fun at all,' he said.

Mr Brown said he could now play sport without needing 10 minutes to catch his breath, and had a 'totally different outlook on life'.

'When you realise what you have and it's taken away from you, when you get it back you want to do everything you can to make it worthwhile,' he said.

He said he thanked the donor family 'every day' for their gift and hoped others would take the opportunity to sign up to the register.

'I sent a 'thank you letter' to the donor family after my operation, and I think it made them happier to know that I was alive because of what they had done,' he said.

Mr Brown said by donating organs, people had an opportunity to help 'someone's mother or son, father or uncle get the life they want'.

'It must be a difficult decision for people to make, but if they look at people like me and see what it's done for us, they can take solace in the fact that their loved ones' organs have been used for a good cause,' he said.



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