Kate Mitchelson and John Muldoon are both kidney transplant recipients.
Kate Mitchelson and John Muldoon are both kidney transplant recipients. The Northern Star

Kate living proof for donor program

“I AM going to see my youngest child get married in two weeks. Yet there was a time when I wondered if I would be around long enough to watch my kids grow up,” kidney transplant recipient and Red Cross volunteer Kate Mitchelson said.

Kate was attending a special organ donation morning tea organised by the Wardell branch of the Red Cross at Wollongbar Hall yesterday.

Also at the meeting was another kidney recipient, and president of the Northern Rivers Kidney Association, John Muldoon, of Lismore.

The gathering was aimed at raising community consciousness about the need for organ donors in Australia, explaining the role of the Red Cross in the process and increasing public awareness of how to become a donor.

For five-and-a-half years Kate Mitchelson endured four hours on a dialysis machine, three days a week. She had young children at the time.

Nine years ago in November, a donated kidney gave her back her quality of life, and the freedom dependence on dialysis had denied her.

“I won't say there were no challenges after I had the transplant, there were lots,” Kate said.

“But while I may have survived another nine years on dialysis, my quality of life would not have been as good as it is today.”

Jane Ruane, transplant co-ordinator at Lismore Base Hospital and a guest speaker at the meeting, cares for patients when they go on dialysis and takes them through to getting on the transplant waiting list.

Ms Ruane said Australians were 10-times more likely to need a transplant themselves, than to become a donor.

The meeting decided to promote organ donation during next year's Organ Donor Week.

Managed by the Australian Red Cross, LifeGift NSW now co-ordinates organ donation in this State.

LifeGift NSW also places co-ordinators in NSW hospitals where deceased donors have been cared for, providing advocacy for donors and their families.

Co-ordinators assist in the operating theatre and ensure all legal ethical requirements are fulfilled and families are treated with dignity and respect.

People curious about organ donation can 'borrow' Kate Mitchelson from the Lismore 'Living Book' Library.

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