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Makayla – tissue recipient, QLD

A photo of Makayla
My donor gave me a new perspective on life and got me back on my feet.

Makayla is thankful to her donor family every single day; without them she would be facing life in a wheelchair.

Suffering from knee problems since her early teens, Makayla has now had two meniscus transplants from a tissue donor, who have given her back her youth.

A talented gymnast, Makayla endured years of debilitating and painful knees with multiple surgeries due to a problem with her meniscal tissue (the flexible cartilage that surrounds the knee). The then teenager was incapacitated for more than six years, struggling with ongoing pain until precise donor tissue was matched.

“My movement was extremely restricted, and I was in a lot of pain, it was a truly difficult time in my life,” Makayla said. “Being too young for a knee replacement, a meniscal transplant was really my only option unless I wanted to end up in a wheelchair.”

Makayla has now had a meniscal transplant in both knees, the surgery is particularly difficult because the meniscus cannot be stretched so the donor tissue must fit the recipient exactly.

“My donor gave me a new perspective on life and got me back on my feet. Since my first transplant I’ve climbed the Gold Coast’s tallest building as a testament to the adversity I have overcome. I have a new lease on life thanks to my donors,” she said.

Kathy Heagney
Graphic of native plants

Join us online Saturday, 5 June 3pm for the DonateLife National Service of Remembrance