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Donation is a valuable conversation to have

By Kathy

Dale was a proud Jaywon and Torres Strait Islander man, who I was lucky to call my life partner. He was looking forward to the birth of his first granddaughter when he died suddenly at the age of just 38.

Dale collapsed at work surrounded by his colleagues who frantically tried to save his life. I would like to take a moment to pass on to those colleagues that the paramedics that attended to him have told me that they were incredibly impressed with their efforts - I know they did everything they could.

Dale was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit, where again the doctors and nurses did everything they could. Despite this, very quickly I was faced with one of the hardest decisions of my life - whether to donate Dale's organs and tissue.

The decision was relatively easy for me. And that was because prior to Dale's death, we had had many conversations about his wishes to be an organ and tissue donor. Indeed the first of these was on our very first date, where we talked literally about life, death, the universe and everything. Throughout the next 14.5 years, each time we would have those discussions, they were always relaxed and informal conversations - we both cared about what may happen in each other's futures.

Having had those conversations, when the time came, the decisions I had to make were so much easier as I knew Dale's wishes.

As a result, Dale was able to give sight to two people through the donation of his corneas. As well as making a difference to the lives of these recipients, his lasting legacy has made an enormous difference to the healing of the family as, even in his death, Dale was able to give the gift of sight.

I urge you all to please have the discussion with your family, your partner or your significant other as I did.