Life Wellbeing DonateLife Week: A simple decision with life-changing abilities

DonateLife Week: A simple decision with life-changing abilities

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Jake Hoskin’s family is forever grateful to a person they have never met.

That person made the decision to be an organ donor, therefore saving Jake’s life when he was just 20 years old.

Barely out of his teens and coming off years of living in “a really dark place”, Jake was critically ill, hours from death and his only chance of survival was an emergency liver transplant.

“I was chosen to receive this life-saving gift and I’ll never be able to fully express how much it has changed my life,” Jake told The New Daily, as DonateLife Week begins for another year.

Jake Hoskin now leads a healthy life, and says being the recipient of an organ donation has helped him grow as an individual. Photo: DonateLife Week

“My family kept a son/brother/cousin because another family who lost theirs made an incredible decision on the worst day of their lives.

“Whoever you are, from the bottom of my heart, from my family to yours; thank you for saying yes.”

Now 27, the Brisbane man enjoys a “fantastic” quality of life and is studying to be a nurse so he can help others overcome the mental health battles he faced in his younger years.

His other mission is to raise awareness of organ donation; how simple yet how powerful it is.

Although research shows most Australians recognise the importance of organ donation, clouds of misunderstanding surround the process.

We’re still in the dark about donating

Only a third of Australians are signed on to the national register, a survey from the Organ and Tissue Authority revealed – but it’s not from a lack of willingness.

There’s still a lot of confusion around organ donation, the survey detailed, showing many Australians believe they’re too unfit or unhealthy, too old – or the thought had just never occurred to them.

“One of the most common myths around organ and tissue donation is that you may be too old or too unhealthy to be a donor,” Organ and Tissue Authority CEO Lucinda Barry said.

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Nick, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Australian Army, tragically lost his wife Leanne and mother of their 8-month-old daughter last year, after a long battle with bipolar disorder. Leanne donated her lungs, liver and kidneys, saving the lives of four other people. Nick says that one of his lasting impressions of that terrible time was the professionalism of the doctors and nurses who were looking after his family. “They provided Leanne with the utmost care throughout her time at the hospital, even simple things like brushing her teeth twice a day in ICU. They showed us complete respect throughout our choice to donate and there was even a hospital guard of honour by the medical team at the time of donation. I felt their complete care and compassion.” You can help save lives like Leanne did by saying “yes” to organ and tissue donation, discussing it with your family and registering at – it only takes a minute. #DonateLife #DonateLifeWeek2020

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“That may not be the case. Last year our oldest donor was 84; the youngest just a few months old.

“And people of all levels of health and fitness can donate. Don’t rule yourself out even if you think you’ve lived an unhealthy life or have suffered illness.”

Making your choice known

The other barrier that comes between a person’s wish to be a donor, and actually being a donor, is assumption.

A person might have the intention to be a donor, but it’s a split-second discussion between a doctor and their family members that can mean all the difference between saving another person’s life.

If you haven’t discussed your choice with your family, they might be hesitant to say yes to donating your organs – especially during a highly emotional and stressful time.

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Indi received a liver transplant at 5 months old. Not long after she was born, Indi was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare childhood liver disease. After a few months, Indi began to go rapidly downhill and desperately needed a new liver to survive. Post-transplant, Indi is now running after her big brother like a normal toddler. Her life and ours has changed so much, and we think of Indi’s donor and their family every day and are so thankful. Thanks to all those Australians who say “yes” to organ and tissue donation and help make lives like Indi’s a whole lot better. Register to be an organ and tissue donor now at – it only takes a minute. #DonateLife #DonateLife2020

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Signing up to the national organ donor register means your family know for certain where your intentions lie.

There are about 1700 Australians currently on the waitlist for a transplant, and last year, nearly 1500 lives were saved by the decisions of 548 donors and their families.

Of course, not everyone is suitable as a donor when the time comes – but it’s the option that can make the difference to thousands of lives.

For more information on how to become an organ donor, click here.

DonateLife Week runs until August 2.