Teen: “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t work”
TOWNSVILLE teen Abigail Chase would not be alive today if it were not for the priceless gift of organ donation.
The 18-year-old had battled cystic fibrosis, a condition affecting the lungs, since she was born until receiving a lifesaving lung transplant in July last year, only seven days after being put on the transplant list.
""The lung transplant didn't just change my life, it gave me a life and it was thanks to somebody who made the decision to donate their organs," she said. "I was bed bound before, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't walk, I couldn't work, I couldn't go out with friends, I was in and out of hospital and couldn't just be a normal 17-year-old.
"I was really excited, nervous and scared when I got the news there was a pair of lungs for me; every emotion was amplified.
"I knew I could die during the procedure but also knew there was a chance I could have a whole future ahead of me."
The bubbly teen is sharing her story of receiving a lung transplant to inspire people to support organ donation during DonateLife Week.
Abigail said that since the transplant she had stopped dreaming about her future and started planning it.
"It has added decades onto my life," she said. "I used to be fully dependent on my mum but now I have been able to start working which I love and in August I will be commencing study.
"I hope to one day open my own cafe; that is my ultimate dream."
Abigail said that she was passionate about the message of registering to be an organ donor.
"If it weren't for my lung transplant I would have had only months to live which is why I tell people not to think twice; it will save a life," she said. "One person's organs can save multiple lives with different organs going to different people.
"Since the organ donation which resulted in my lung transplant I'm still myself but a better version, I have more energy for everyday life and am living like a normal 18-year-old.
"I really encourage people to register their decision to be an organ donor this Donate Life Week, it has changed my life and it can change somebody else's too."
Townsville Hospital Donation Specialist Nurse Coordinator Rhonda Farley said people like Abigail were a great example of why organ donation was so important. Townsville Hospital and Health Service.
"We want to let the community know that it is now faster and easier than even to join the Australian Organ Donor Register," she said. "By doing so you could make a significant difference to the life of someone just like Abigail.
"We already know that residents in the region overwhelmingly support organ and tissue donation, but most haven't gotten around to registering their decision."
Since last year Queenslanders can register their decision to be an organ donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register online which made the process simple.
People can sign up to the Australian Organ Donor Register by visiting donatelife.gov.au.