Tracey Slatter and her husband Greg, seven months after Tracey's double lung transplant.
Tracey Slatter and her husband Greg, seven months after Tracey's double lung transplant. Contributed

Your story: Why organ donation is so important

Tracey Slatter shares her story after having a double lung transplant. If you have a story you'd like to share, click here.

WITH this week being Donate for Life Week, I was invited by The Gladstone Observer to share my story as to where I'm at with my double lung transplant journey.

A lot has happened since my transplant in March of 2014, almost 17 months ago. 

Thanks to the ultimate gift of life, I have since returned to work with my brother Dion in his pro golf shop in Calliope and resumed my role as GCI secretary.

I can drive, exercise, walk up steps without gasping for air and pretty much live a happy and active life.

I now have regained my independence which I valued so much after relying on people for so long when ill.

Due to a miracle I have constant contact with her family and her two beautiful daughters.  Two families who are now intertwined by organ donation. 

This is all because of a selfless young woman named Aileen, my angel and her family who fulfilled her wishes as an organ donor.

Due to a miracle I have constant contact with her family and her two beautiful daughters.  Two families who are now intertwined by organ donation. 

Of course there has been some setbacks with two minor cases of rejection, infection and a severe case of pneumonia - caused by a simple child's cold called RSV which resulted in me being hospitalised for over 15 days at Prince Charles for treatment.

The outstanding treatment by the transplant team soon got me back on my feet again and back home where I belong.

My husband Greg, my two children Michael and Emily, and their partners Aimee and Mitch have always been so supportive and brave as have my close friends (they know who they are), and I talk to my mum almost every day.   

I still attend regular clinics in Brisbane of course but that will be the case for the rest of my life. A small price to pay I believe. 

SAVED BY DONOR: Tracey Slatter is recovering from a double lung transplant which saved her from dying from a rare lung disease.
SAVED BY DONOR: Tracey Slatter is recovering from a double lung transplant which saved her from dying from a rare lung disease. Mike Richards

My husband and I have met so many wonderful people (transplant recipients) at these clinics, and it's great to be able to share our experience with people going through the same journey. 

My transplant team are so amazing and so dedicated in what they do, and have become a very important and necessary part of my life.

The atmosphere at these clinics is always happy and bright.

Medication is forever changing all the time, trying to keep my levels balanced. 

The side effects from steroids can be hard maintaining a healthy weight.

Unfortunately another side effect is kidney disease which has resulted from anti-rejection medication, something I will have to maintain through a healthy lifestyle.  

Raising awareness of organ donation has become a very important thing in my life.

Already I have spoken to students at Tannum State High and Toolooa State High and look forward to being involved with others later on.  

I'm forever posting about the importance of organ donation on my Facebook page.

It's up to people whether they choose to read it or not, but I ask everyone, "Would you accept a life saving transplant, and if so are you an organ donor?"

Then more importantly, have you discussed your wishes with your family? You are never too young or too old to become an organ donor.

I would like to finish with this: Becoming an organ donor is entirely up to you, but heaven knows we need them here.    

For more information about organ donation, visit donatelife.gov.au.



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