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The day our family changed forever

By Ron, Sandra and Karen

My sister was a special person from the day she was born, as she entered the world on Christmas Day. Our family - mum, dad, Donna and myself had discussed organ donation as a family and all agreed it was a good idea, but never thought it would happen to us.

Mum, dad and myself said goodbye to Donna as she got into her car to drive to visit her best friend. Life changed forever that day when mum and dad received a phone call from John Hunter Hospital to say Donna had been flown there and was in critical condition.

When we arrived, doctors explained that Donna was on life support. The shock is unexplainable and it is not a situation that anybody ever expects to happen. A Donor Coordinator was sent to talk to us and said Donna would be a candidate for donation. Our decision was an easy one as we knew that's what Donna would have wanted. We knew this because we had already had the discussion.

Donna was pronounced brain dead and her organs were removed. Two children and two adults received organs and a new life. This has given our family some comfort over the years, knowing some good could come from our tragedy.

Donna wasn't speeding or doing anything wrong, she simply leaned over to change a cassette tape in her car and lacked concentration for a few seconds, which we have all done from time to time. Nobody thinks it will happen to them but if it does, you need to know your loved ones wishes. That's why it is important to discuss it with your family. People need to ask themselves if their child needed an organ, would they accept it? Of course they would, so people also have to be willing to give.

Ron, Sandra and Karen