Now’s the time to discuss organ donation

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Pat Cronin was an organ donor in 2016

Organ donation – now’s the time to have the conversation

As everyone knows, we’re passionate about ending the  Coward Punch and Australia’s shocking record of assault casualties.

Another issue close to our hearts however is organ and tissue donation.

In part, this is because Pat himself was an organ donor.  It’s also because it provides some comfort for everyone at the Foundation to know that despite his death, he was able to save and improve the lives of five other people through this simple but powerful act.    

With DonateLife Week running until Sunday 31 July, 2022 throughout Australia, it’s a perfect time for families to discuss the issue with each other.

A gift that money can’t buy

Australia desperately needs many more donors of all ages, including children. Organ donation plummeted through the pandemic, and our national organ transplant wait list currently sits at about 1750.

Sadly, wait times can be between six months and four years, according to the Australian government.

An organ transplant can be life-changing.

Kevin Green is a kidney recipient

Kidney recipient Kevin Green, a big supporter of the Pat Cronin Foundation and pictured above, tells it like this: “After being sick for so many years, the difference after having a transplant was instant.

“It was like a match had been struck.

“After being on dialysis for nine years, waking up with the new kidney was a surreal experience. After being jaundiced for much of my life, the first thing I noticed was I wasn’t yellow anymore.”

While Kevin was diagnosed with kidney disease at 19, he battled on with ill health and two near- brushes with death before finally receiving a new lease on life at 43.

Now 58, he competes regularly in Transplant Games events throughout the world. He has also  established the  Donor and Recipients Group Australia, which allows people to come together to talk about their experiences.

As to the declining number of organ donors in Australia, he implores all families to take time out to consider the issue.

“It takes 10 minutes to tell someone in your family that you would like to donate your organs when you die. And the best time to have that conversation is now.

“It’s not the time to have it when a loved one is on life support, in the midst of all the emotion and grief that goes along with that.”

Why the Cronins donated Pat’s organs

“Ultimately, it was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make,” says Pat’s father Matt.

“Until you’ve been in that situation, it’s hard to understand all the emotions attached to it.

“Although we were in our darkest possible hour, we knew it was the right thing to do. And we also knew that Pat himself would have wanted it that way.

“He was the sort of kid who would do anything for his mates and anyone else. It was just who he was.”

Later on, one of the recipients even reached out to the family to thank them.

In his Be Wise presentations for the Foundation, Matt encourages everyone to consider organ donation.

“While it’s not directly part of the Foundation’s work, it’s something that’s close to our hearts and worth raising awareness about.”

Quick facts

  • Around 1750 Australians are currently on a wait list for an organ transplant
  • More than 13,000 additional people are on dialysis
  • Wait times can be between 6 months and 4 years.

To find out more about DonateLife and how to register for organ donation, click here.  To keep up to date with what the Pat Cronin Foundation is doing, check out our Facebook page. To get in touch,  click here or email us at info@patcroninfoundation.org.au.

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