ORGAN DONATION: How one conversation saved two lives
ANDREW Crase will always remember his older sister Jean as fun-loving, full-of-life and up for an adventure.
But most of all, he will remember the Bay woman as a hero.
Jean's legacy after her untimely death seven years ago was to save two strangers' lives by donating her organs.
Heartbreakingly, on Mr Crase's birthday in 2012, just as Jean was about to leave to pick up her nephew in the afternoon, she suffered an epileptic seizure and fell sideways into a bathtub.
When her mother found her, Jean's face was blue and her chin was pinned against her chest.
Her airways had been blocked for more than 15 minutes.
While she was revived by her mother performing CPR, Jean was taken to hospital and put on life support only to have tests reveal she was brain dead.
Thankfully, Jean had the presence of mind to tell her parents earlier she would like to be an organ donor.
At the annual service of remembrance held at Fraser Coast Anglican College chapel on Saturday, attended by around 90 people, Mr Crase honoured his sister by presenting an organ recipient family with a "candle of life”.
"It gives me a great sense of pride to know what she has done for two other families,” he said.
"We don't know who Jean's organs went to because of privacy but mum has indirectly corresponded with the families - sending anonymous letters to be passed on, touching base.
"I urge everyone to have a discussion with your family about it if you have decided to become an organ donor because they get the final call.”
Hervey Bay's Colleen Fuller, her son Jaydon and husband Russ received the "candle of life” from Mr Crase.
Jaydon received a liver transplant just a week after his first birthday, after surgery to fix his Biliary Atresia did not work.
The rare liver disease meant Jaydon would not have lived passed his third birthday.
Now, at age 17 the Fraser Coast Anglican College Year 11 student lives a normal teenage life, apart from blood tests every three months and daily medication.
He is passionate about steam engines and Jaydon's life dream is to build one.
"You definitely get a new appreciation for life and look at the world with a new set of eyes,” Mrs Fuller said.
"A lot of things you do is out of respect for the donor family, like he will never be able to drink alcohol but it is a small price to pay for receiving a liver.”
Mrs Fuller said the joy of her son receiving a life-saving liver was mixed with another family's pain.
"In Jaydon's case, he received a paediatric liver and it is hard to accept because you know someone else's child died. And because they died Jaydon is able to live,” she said.
"When you speak to donor families, not just one person's life was saved, they often save multiple. You wouldn't wish death on anyone but there is some good that came out of it.”
Mrs Fuller said Jaydon's condition drove home to the public why being an organ donor was so important.
"I wish people didn't have to see someone like that to make that decision,” Mrs Fuller said.
'You don't want your family to make that decision for you, make that decision yourself while you are able to.
"Everyone around me knows I want to be an organ donor.”