'I feel 27 again': How a lung transplant saved this 67-year-old from palliative care

DonateLife Week: Why you're never too old to give a second chance of life

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SECOND CHANCE: Joanne Galliher has a go at mechanical bull-riding at the Bothwell BushFest in 2018, just 19 months after her lung transplant.

SECOND CHANCE: Joanne Galliher has a go at mechanical bull-riding at the Bothwell BushFest in 2018, just 19 months after her lung transplant.

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Why you're 'never too old' to give a second chance of life through organ and tissue donation.

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FROM bull riding to bush walking, 67-year-old Tasmanian Joanne Galliher is grabbing life by the horns and can be regularly seen walking and jogging around her hometown of Bothwell.

But life was very different two years ago, when Joanne was clinging on to life due to debilatating lung disease with doctors ready to move her into palliative care.

In her own words, she described spending over 100 days "dying" due to her lung condition. Then in 2017 Joanne received a life-saving lung transplant, thanks to an anonymous organ donor, just in time and said she's never looked back.

"At 67 now, I feel like I'm 27 again, I'm so thankful for my donor and their family for making such a selfless decision to donate at such a difficult time."

Joanne now has a daily regime of exercise, including yoga.

"I owe it to my donor to cherish the opportunity I have for a second chance at life," she said.

'Never too old'

Transplant recipient Joanne is sharing her story to mark DonateLife Week, and is urging all Australians to sign up and become a registered organ and tissue donor.

This year, DonateLife is keen to spread the message to seniors, that being over-55 doesn't mean you can't become an organ donor.

"Never assume you're too old, or unhealthy, to become and organ donor," said Dr Andrew Turner, State Medical Director for DonateLife Tasmania.

He said he sees first-hand the impact a single organ and tissue donor can have for people waiting for transplant and often hears seniors discussing the mistaken belief that they are too old to be an organ and tissue donor.

"The fact is, age is not a barrier - people over 80 have become organ and tissue donors," he said, adding that people in their 70s and over have saved the lives of others through donation.

"While your age and medical history will be considered, you shouldn't assume you are too old or not healthy enough.

"Every potential donor is assessed on an individual basis, there is every possibility you may be able to donate your organs or tissues."

DonateLife Tasmania's medical director Dr Andrew Turner is urging seniors to sign up for organ and tissue donation this DonateLife Week.

DonateLife Tasmania's medical director Dr Andrew Turner is urging seniors to sign up for organ and tissue donation this DonateLife Week.

He said only a few medical conditions (such as transmissible diseases like HIV) may prevent someone being a donor.

"The most important thing to do is to register and talk to your family."

"There are around 1400 Australians currently on the waitlist for a life-saving transplant, and a further 11,000 people on dialysis".

"One person's decision to register as a donor can save up to ten people's lives."

"We simply need more people to register as a donor, and discuss their decision with their family, so more people can benefit from a transplant."

For details head to donatelife.gov.au

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