Living in hope: Matt waits for gift of life

MATT Wensley is living in hope someone’s decision will change the course of his life.

Mr Wensley, 19, is on a waiting list for a liver transplant. He was born with a liver condition that kept him sidelined growing up, while his brother and sister  played sport.

But yesterday, Mr Wensley was given great cause for hope, at the start of Donate Life Week, when he met fellow Orange resident Greg Stevens who underwent a liver transplant in 2012.

The Orange Health Service facilitated a record number of organ donations in the past 12 months.

Senior intensive care specialist Dr Keven Quan oversees the procurement of organs from deceased people and liaises with medical teams in Sydney and Melbourne to carry out the transplants.

He said the six organ donations originating from Orange hospital last year was a huge leap forward in offering a second chance to people on a transplant waiting list.

“It is a very complex co-ordination procedure when we do have an indication of a transplant, and considering only 1 per cent of people meet the criteria for transplant, it is a wonderful result for Orange,” Dr Quan said.

"The donor’s body is always treated with dignity and respect. By donating it is truly a gift"

Donation specialist nurse Sonia Braithwaite is employed at Orange hospital to liaise with families from across the Western Local Health District and facilitate organ donation.

She said the hospital’s six organ donations last year, as well as tissue donations, were very encouraging and were the highest number ever recorded.

Ms Braithwaite said much time and expertise went into supporting families to make a decision about organ donation.

“It is the most traumatic time in anyone’s life when they have to see a loved one’s life come to an end,” she said.

“But I would like to emphasise the donor’s body is always treated with dignity and respect. By donating it is truly a gift.”

Mr Wensley is a second year primary teaching student at Charles Sturt University.

He said his chance of playing sport has probably passed him by, due to his health limitations, but a liver transplant would help him become more involved in a range of activities.

If Mr Stevens’ experience in receiving a new liver is any indication, Mr Wensley has a great deal to look forward to in the future.

“Having a transplant has changed my life in every way possible,” Mr Stevens said.

“I’m even looking forward now to doing some travelling which I couldn’t do before.”

To find out more about changing someone’s life with an organ or tissue donation go to www.donatelife.gov.au.

OUR SAY: DISCUSS ORGAN DONATIONS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

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