Katie - donor, VIC
Rob isn’t lost for words when it comes to talking about his beloved wife of 34 years, Katie. A former nurse, and retired flight attendant, Katie was also a cherished wife, mother, nan-nan, friend and colleague. Rob’s love for her, and pride in her legacy as an organ and tissue donor, runs deep.
“She gave herself in life and death, and bravely stayed with us until she left to join the other angels,” says Rob.
Katie wouldn’t survive injuries sustained following a tragic road accident. Amid their grief and shock, Rob and his daughters Emily and Isabella were faced with a question they had never considered.
“Katie and I never spoke about organ and tissue donation. We didn't know much about the concept, and it never came up,” says Rob.
“When everything happened at the hospital, we were supported by a wonderful and compassionate ICU team and then a donation nurse. She sat with us and explained that Katie fitted the category of becoming an organ donor, and she asked how we felt about that,” Rob says.
“We didn’t hesitate. The girls and I believed it was the right decision and thought it would be a wonderful way to honour Katie,” he says.
“For us it was about that initial contact with the donation nurse. It was all so beautiful, and it was so respectful. It was emotional, obviously, but when it was explained to us that Katie was the perfect candidate, medically – and how rare an opportunity it was to become a donor – we thought it made complete sense,” he says.
Katie’s liver and kidneys were transplanted to others in need of lifesaving and life-changing surgery. Her skin was donated to assist burns victims. Her eyes donated to assist vision-impaired people. Her femurs and tibias donated to help people with cancer and trauma injuries.
“Katie spent her whole life helping and looking after people, so, that she could still do that after she left us was really special,” says Rob.
“My message for people is to go out there and just do it – talk to your family and register. You could save lives and leave a legacy. It’s really that simple.”