It helps to know the answer to the organ question
Last year my amazing brother, Supercar driver Ashley Cooper, was full of life when he donned his race suit before his V8 race at the Clipsal 500. An amazing man, a beautiful son, a brother, partner, mate and a very devoted Daddy to his two delightful children. My brother went from that moment of being full of life, to being the giver of life.
Ashley died as a result of a high speed collision on the track that day, but was able to give the ultimate gift to six other families, the gift of life.
Ashley was an organ donor and myself and my family know first hand the experience of organ donation and the amazing gift that donating life brings to both recipients and donor families.
Thankfully, we had as a family already discussed organ donation far prior to Ash’s accident. We knew very clearly what Ashley’s wishes were should he be given the chance, he wanted to be a donor, he wanted to donate life.
A very effortless discussion over a family dinner one evening had taken place where we all shared our wishes regarding donation.
I never imagined that we would ever need to recall that conversation and certainly never imagined it would be for our Ash. Ash was a fit and healthy young man with the world at his feet. But I am immensely grateful that we had that chat. At a time of extreme emotion, sadness, shock and complete tragedy, we were able to make this colossal decision about donation with ease, confidence and more than anything, great honour.
We knew this was what Ash wanted. He was an amazing man, and he was able to donate life and give his amazing gift.
I can’t imagine how our family would have coped had we not been clear on what Ashley’s wishes were. I can sincerely say that I often had watched the news and thought “oh, but we aren’t one of those families ... tragedies don’t happen to us”. Please realise, tragedies are what they are because we can’t see them coming.
Yesterday my husband Shannon and my kids Annie-Maree and Cody went to see the Prime Minister and his wife at The Lodge in Canberra. I know Ashley would have been proud and he probably would have teased me about trying to “souvenir” something.
We were invited to the Rudds’ home because they wanted to help spread this important message.
I’m really proud of the new public awareness program we helped to launch. As one of the members of the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority’s Advisory Council, I get to see first-hand the hard work that is being done to try and improve our country’s poor donation rate.
If this new program helps spark just one of those dinner conversations, the program has, in my opinion, been a success.
Australians are being asked to discover the facts, decide to become an organ donor and above all discuss that decision with their loved ones. It’s all there on the DonateLife website.
Discover, decide, discuss. Three little words that could mean so much to more than 1700 Australians who are currently waiting for a life saving transplant operation.
Please join the DonateLife Family, like the Prime Minister and his family, and like my family.
A DonateLife Family is simply one that knows each other’s wishes regarding organ donation. It is our only way of supporting the brilliant doctors and nurses and co-ordinators in the hospitals across Australia who have to ask this difficult question. I can tell you from personal experience it helps to know the answer well before such a difficult question is asked.
I am so grateful the question was asked of our family, and that we were able to uphold Ashley’s wishes to help others.
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