Next week is DonateLife Week (Sunday 26 July – Sunday 2 August 2020) and local mother, Lee McBay is urging Central Coast residents to register to be organ and tissue donors, after her daughter Indi received a life-saving liver transplant when she was just five months old.
“Indi was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare childhood liver disease that blocks the bile ducts in the liver, not long after she was born,” Ms McBay said.
“At the tender age of 26 days old she had surgery to allow the bile to drain from her liver. Although she recovered amazingly well from surgery and was a little champion, about six weeks later we were advised that the procedure had failed and she would need a liver transplant in the future.
“At about 4 months old she started to go downhill. She had severe jaundice, was having a hard time holding onto nutrition and eventually needed overnight feeds via an NG tube as well as a weekend hospital stay for some extra care. She soon became too sick to leave the hospital.”
Indi’s family received the life-saving news that a suitable liver had been found for Indi.
“We were so so lucky and grateful we received the call and she went into surgery about nine hours later. After a mammoth 16 hours surgery we were able to see her again in ICU,” Ms McBay said.
“Indi is now 12 months post-transplant and has been kicking goals ever since. She was initially about three months behind in her milestones but is now running after her big brother like a normal 15 month old.
“Her life and ours has changed so much for the better, she is such a happy and chilled little toddler now, you wouldn’t even know what she has been through to look at her,” she said.
“We have tried to raise as much awareness as we can about organ donation. It is so so important and not something we even thought about until this happened to us. We think of Indi’s donor and their family every day and are so thankful.”
CCLHD Organ Donation Coordinator Yoni Hope-Hodgetts said there are around 1,600 people on Australian transplant waiting lists at any one time, and a further 12,000 people on dialysis.
“You can make a real difference in the lives of others like beautiful little Indi, by registering as a donor and then telling your family.” Ms Hope-Hodgetts said.
“Around half of all adults on the Central Coast are currently registered to be organ donors, which is fantastic, but we would like to get even more people signed up.”
It takes a minute to register to be a donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register at www.donatelife.gov.au/centralcoast
Once you register it is important to let your family know of your decision. Families play a crucial role in the donation process because they are asked to confirm whether their loved one wanted to be a donor.
“We know that in 9 out of 10 cases, families agree to donation when their family member is a registered donor.
“We are incredibly grateful to those families who have generously said yes to organ donation at such a difficult time in their lives.”