Tony's Story
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Once only second chance

By Tony

This is being penned from my hospital bed with about two weeks before I get to go home following a double lung transplant. Most of us get one shot at life and quite frankly a lot of us don't treat that honour with any great respect.

We abuse our bodies and smoke (I did) we eat poorly and drink too much (I did) and we generally wait until something breaks down before we bother to seek medical help.

My actions and unfortunate exposure to toxins earlier in my life saw me on permanent oxygen treatment for the past two years. Given a short term survival rating about six months ago I was extremely fortunate to be placed on the transplant waiting list.

That's right, a waiting list! There are literally hundreds of very usable human organs being buried and/or cremated every week in this country mainly through ignorance of how easy it is to organise to become an organ donor.

The solution is simple - we need people talk to those they love to encourage them to become donors and get the opportunity to give a once only second chance to others.

Anyway enough soapboxing, at least this grandfather will be at home in a couple of weeks playing with eight grandchildren, seven children, a loving wife and family who would not have seen me again if it had not been for the unbelievable generosity and unselfish attitude of a stranger, who I'll never meet, and his/her grieving family.

My organ donor has given me the true gift of life. It is now my responsibility to honour those organs for the rest of my life. I am giving 101% for what I consider is my ONCE ONLY SECOND CHANCE at life. Thank you never seems enough, neither does a million thank you's.

Any other words I seek to describe my gratitude sound hollow when placed against the enormity of your family's grief. So generous donor whoever you are, I now consider you my eighth child and trust that I can make you as proud of me as I am grateful to you.

Tony