ON November 22, 11 years ago, former Emerald resident Margaret Wedgwood lost her 29-year-old son Tim Lodder in a tragic car crash.
Sixteen months before his death, Tim had become an organ donor. As a result his heart, lungs, kidneys, eye tissue and liver were donated for transplants.
As the Australian Organ Donor Register celebrates its 10th year, DonateLife Queensland is encouraging Central Highland families to find out more about organ and tissue donation, and how to get involved.
Today there are 3721 registered organ donors in the Emerald shire, 1458 in the Duaringa shire, 467 in the Bauhinia shire and 834 in the Peak Downs shire.
DonateLife Queensland spokesperson Kate Strodart said the high level of support in the region was, in part, due to Margaret, who after her son’s death, organised information sessions to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation across the Highlands.
Talking to someone who has “walked the walk” can be very helpful for families struggling to decide, said Margaret.
“Once families had the chance to speak to a donor family that has been through it and survived, they were signing up straight away.”
Central Queensland organ and tissue coordinator Josephine Reoch visited Emerald and Capella this year supporting families in sharing their wishes.
“Registering for organ and tissue donation is a big decision and one that needs to be thought about and discussed,” said Josephine.
“Forty per cent of Australians do not know the wishes of their loved ones. It’s important to have that conversation and make it a memorable one. Explain what you want and why.”
Margaret said the decision to donate Tim’s organs was made much easier by the family knowing what he wanted.
“When you’re in that situation where trauma surrounds you, the only good thing that can come out of it, is through giving someone else a chance of life,” she said.
“It’s very important we realise how special these organs are and how many people desperately need them.”
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.