Don - eye tissue donor, QLD
Melissa remembers her parents’ discussing organ and tissue donation from a young age. So, it’s no surprise that when her dad Don became unwell, he constantly reminded the family of his wishes to donate.
“He would always say things like ‘if someone else can use it they might as well’ or ‘they’re no good coming with me’, “Melissa said.
In September 2017 Don was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus. Melissa said he was otherwise in good health so the doctors thought he would be okay. But less than three weeks later they were told the devastating news that the cancer was stage-four and nothing further could be done, her dad would need to go to palliative care.
Only one month later Don passed away, but he wasn’t going without leaving a gift.
“My dad was a caring person, he was always available to help anyone,” Melissa said. “The decision to donate was very much my dad, if he couldn’t use it, he would hope that someone could use it.”
On the day Don passed away, Melissa’s mum received a phone call from the Queensland Tissue Bank asking if she would consent to eye tissue and possibly cornea donation.
“My mum agreed without hesitation. Looking back on that day, I feel it gave us some peace, knowing that dad might be able to help someone and that his death didn’t go unnoticed,” Melissa said. “It was a really weird feeling, a good feeling though. It made me feel like my dad mattered.”