My name is Jessica. I am 20 years old and was born with a condition called biliary atresia, which is a blockage of the main bile duct from the liver. This led me to have a liver transplant at the age of nine. I was lucky that my liver lasted until I was nine, as most require a liver transplant straight away.
I remember in my early school years I was often not able to participate in sports and activities at lunchtime as I was sick, tired and had no energy. I was always in and out of hospital with infections to the liver which made me jaundiced.
Once I had the liver transplant the jaundice went and I slowly regained my energy levels. I have learnt to live life to the fullest and take every opportunity given to me.
I picked up sports such as netball, dance and swimming. I was starting to feel like I really fitted in with all the other children and my friends at school. I graduated, studied and received a Diploma in Fitness.
I trekked the Kokoda Trail with the Kokoda Brothers starting on Anzac Day. There were 25 Australians of all ages (whom I made friends with) and 20 - 25 porters. The 96 kilometre trek through heavy terrain over eight days was the hardest, yet best experience I have had to date.
This year I completed my first 14 kilometre Run for Kids walk (with a friend Kate who has also had a liver transplant), the Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Appeal and also a 12 kilometre run for the Geelong Hospital Childrens Ward.
This year I volunteered with Transplant Australia to help raise funds at events. I will continue to participate and volunteer for these important causes that have helped shape my life today.
Please register to become an organ and tissue donor like myself and please discuss your decision with your friends and family during DonateLife Week.