Our mum was and still is our hero. You see our mum was a polio victim who was diagnosed when she was only 10 months old, back in 1938. As a result of her diagnosis she was sent away to various hospitals throughout Victoria until the age of 10. Polio left our mum with one leg shorter than the other and a limp, but it gave her a strength and courage unparalleled.
She underwent many surgeries but never complained. One of her favourite sayings was 'there's always someone worse off than you'. At the age of 55, she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. This is a viral infection that made her heart muscle so large that it became very difficult for her to continue her work, or do anything strenuous.
Mum gave up her job after 25 years and travelled to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne where she was assessed as needing a donor heart. She was put on the waiting list and was told there were very few donors, so her chances of transplantation were very low.
Amazingly after returning to her home in the country, my mum got a call after only three days. We were all in shock. She was given the Royal treatment and flown by air ambulance to the Alfred. There was still no guarantee that the transplant would go ahead, but all the family gathered at the hospital to support her.
I flew from Brisbane and arrived after her surgery had begun. This was a terribly anxious wait and coincidently, our daughter's 11th birthday. I remember waiting in a room with my family when the surgeon came to tell us that the surgery had gone as well as can be expected and that the recovery would be challenging.
The first time we saw mum in ICU she had tubes coming out of everywhere. She looked at me and said, 'Happy Birthday to Angie'. She was always thinking of others even in the toughest and most incredible circumstances. She made a good recovery and vowed to spread the word about organ donation. She spoke to various groups and newspapers and did all she could to promote awareness.
Our mum lived for another 11 years from the time of her transplant. She was and still is an inspiration to us all. Everyone deserves a second chance. We miss you mum- our hero.