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My Dad, Mark

By Tara

My dad was, and still is, my biggest inspiration. He was a single parent who raised his only daughter to be strong, adventurous, honest and hardworking - just like him.

He travelled the world and never held back on adventure. When I was 15 we began our backpacking trips together, leaving the country for months at a time over the next few years to follow the roads less travelled. During these trips he would spend as much time as possible teaching me his thoughts on the world around us.

Back at home, he built his business from scratch and worked hard to put me through school, where he was strict on my studiousness. Dad taught me that you got nothing out of life without hard work, honesty and being a good person. He never missed a chance to sneak a life lesson into our everyday life.

Dad was killed when I was 18.

In one fell swoop I lost my hero, my teacher and my protector. He died of a brain haemorrhage, caused by the hand of another man.

My family had already been through hell; we lost my aunt in the Bali bombings, and another aunt when she was a toddler. This would be the third child my Grandparents had lost and they couldn't bare the thought of walking away from Dad for the last time, while he still technically lived. They wanted to be there with him. You can't blame them.

I knew Dad wanted to be a donor.

I'll tell you, it's not easy to convince a big family to step down in a time of such heartache and I didn't succeed without a fight! But I did, because I knew it was so important to him and it was what he would have wanted. It was his last sneaky little life lesson!

It's hard to express how much of a comfort it is to be apart of the donor community these days. Even five years on the letters still bring a smile to my face. I am so thankful that Dad taught me to be strong and my family are grateful too because they share the same comfort in receiving the letters and stories from the recipients and families.

I know chances are I will never meet our recipient families but if I ever did, I would give them the biggest smile and hug and thank them for living and loving every day, in honour of my dad.

Tara