Australia loses young hero of organ donation

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP

Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Indigenous Health
Member for Hasluck


19 October 2017

It is with great sadness that I share the news a true hero and advocate for organ donation, Coen Ashton, has passed away following complications due to kidney failure.

In 2012 at the age of just 15, Coen received a double lung transplant. Every day thereafter, Coen embraced his second chance at life with passion and courage and every day sought to encourage Australians to think about organ donation, and to discuss and register their donation decisions.

Coen is remembered for generously sharing his story to inspire others. He had a passion for and flair in public speaking, particularly with his peers in schools across the country.

In writing his story for inclusion in DonateLife’s school education resources, he wrote in 2015: “The philosophy I live by is ‘go hard or go home’. I do everything like it’s my last day. Basically, when I make a decision I ask myself ‘If you thought you were going to die tomorrow, would you do this thing?’ If the answer is ‘yes’ I do it, if it’s ‘no’ I don’t do it. That’s the way I live.”

Coen was well known across the donation and transplantation sectors, the media and the broader community, and we cherished his inspiring spirit and boundless generosity.

Whenever Coen shared his story, he referred to “My Donor, My Hero”. Today we honour Coen who was himself a hero to many.

On behalf of the Turnbull Government, I pass on my deepest condolences to Coen’s parents, Dawn and Mark, and brother Kai at this sad time.


Share this page


the facts about organ and
tissue donation

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Understanding donation


and register on the Australian
Organ Donor Register

  • Register your decision


your donation decision with family and friends

  • Who needs to know?
  • How to start the discussion