Video: Donor tissue recipient stories: “Thank you for the best gift I’ve ever had!”

Tissue donation can improve and even save lives. In this video, four donor tissue recipients share their stories.

Daniel, Alison, Tim and John had never met each other but they all had one very important thing in common: they are all the recipients of donor tissue via the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria.

On duty, fighting a fire, Daniel tore his knee cartilage and meniscus so badly he needed 13 operations over 20 years. Eventually his doctors decided his only chance at maintaining mobility and keeping his job as a fire fighter, was a meniscus transplant. Daniel is so grateful to the donor he will never meet, “I would probably be lost for words to say how much it has meant to me,” he said.

Alison is a freelance writer and editor who underwent an aortic valve replacement in 2011. The donation of a heart valve meant that she didn’t have to rely on a mechanical heart valve, or animal substitute, which would have brought with it a lifetime dependency on anti-coagulant drugs and further operations. If it was possible, she would love her daughter to meet her donor’s family. Thanks to their generous gift, she has a healthy mum who plans to be around for a long time.

Tim described himself as “a human fireball” during the shed explosion at his home in Bendigo. His burn injuries were so extensive he was placed in an induced coma for three months and needed 60 skin grafts. After a long and painful journey, Tim considers the donor and their family to be the real heroes.

John, a Melbourne lawyer, underwent a corneal transplant when his cornea became so distorted from a condition called kerataconus, that glasses or contact lenses were no longer enough to restore his blurry vision.

“It’s the best gift I’ve ever had,” he said.

 

Links:

Feature article in The Age (9/4/2012), ‘Doctors warn donor skin shortage risks lives,’ featuring burns victim, Tim who features in our video. 

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