The front page of the Observer on October 31, 2015.
The front page of the Observer on October 31, 2015.

YOUR STORY: Family’s ultimate gift saved my life

NOVEMBER 4 will be a day I will treasure always, as it was the day my family and I had the rare opportunity to meet the family who gave me the ultimate gift - the gift of life.

With very mixed emotions I arranged to meet my donor family in Melbourne. I didn't know what I was going to say or how I would react when I did finally meet them. These people were no ordinary people, these people saved my life with the selfless and brave act of organ donation.

My heart was racing when I was met by the donor Aileen's sister They, who is such a beautiful, loving and caring person. We hugged and smiled. We then went up to her room where Aileen's two daughters Jemha and Chanel were waiting.

Wow, what an amazing feeling to finally meet. Suzie, Aileen's youngest sister, was also present. The atmosphere in the room was amazing. This family had so much love to share and welcomed us with open arms and open hearts.

The two families had an instant connection - there were no awkward moments. We laughed, we cried and we enjoyed each other's company while I learnt about Aileen.

Aileen was a beautiful, fun-loving person who adored her little girls and was loved by her family and her friends. Aileen was born in Malaysia and was originally named Island.

It's sometimes said that recipients can pick up traits from the donor. Before the meeting I placed a picture of Aileen into a white frame and placed a blue butterfly on the edge of the frame - I learnt that Aileen had a blue butterfly tattooed on her back.

I was able to tell them how grateful I was and that there was no word big enough to say thank you. They told me they got comfort from the meeting, knowing what they did was the right thing to do and the difference it had made to my life and to my family.

It was because of them I was able to walk the path of roses at the Melbourne Cup without gasping for air and without that horrible wheelchair.

We have already discussed them travelling to Gladstone to experience the fishing, camping and crabbing my family enjoys.

Suzie's partner wishes to catch a mudcrab with his bare hands and They wants to put a "snag on the barbie".

This wasn't just a one-off meeting, that's for sure. I would love for the rest of my family and close friends to have the opportunity of meeting this beautiful family.

I have no regrets doing this - it was the best experience of my life apart from my two children. I believe the two families have now become one. There is so much love between us all, and this has all come about from organ donation.

This family holiday was one I will never forget.

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