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Jake becomes Australia’s 2000th liver transplant recipient
My name is Jake. I’m 13 years old and I was given a gift of life, thanks to organ donation.
When I was three-years-old, I was diagnosed with a condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. This is a genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs, but a small percentage of people with this condition can also get liver disease. Unfortunately, I was part of that small per cent and was told that I would probably need a liver transplant in about eight to 10 years.
I was well for about eight years. Then in 2018, my doctor said that my regular tests weren’t looking so good and it was time to go for a transplant assessment. I had to go to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead because they don’t do paediatric liver transplants in Perth and spent the week having all sorts of tests and meetings with the doctors, nurses and surgeons over there.
I didn’t really understand much about organ donation when I was younger and I was a bit shocked to learn that donor livers usually come from deceased people (because you don’t have one to spare like you do with your kidneys) but I knew that it was what I needed to help me get better.
I was one of the very lucky ones with my transplant. I was only on the list for three months before I got the first call (which unfortunately didn’t eventuate) and then just two weeks later I got a call for the perfect liver.
After my transplant, I felt a million times better! I have so much more energy now. I don’t have bloody noses all the time, my tummy doesn’t hurt like it used to, I can eat all sorts of food, my eyes aren’t yellow anymore and I don’t have bruises all over me. I also get to play sport with my friends and don’t miss out on things like I used to.
Something really cool happened during my transplant too. I become the 2000th person in Australia to receive a liver transplant. That was pretty special because unfortunately they only get to do about 300 liver transplants per year, so it’s taken a long time to get to 2000. I’m hoping that the 3000th won’t take as long to come around.
I am so grateful to my organ donor and their family for giving me a new liver and helping me get better. It has changed my life!
I would encourage everyone to talk about organ donation so we can help even more people like me. You don’t need your organs when you die, but other people do, including kids.
By becoming an organ donor you get to save other people’s lives and that’s a very, very special thing to be able to do. So it’s very important to talk to your family about your wishes and to sign up to be an organ donor online so more people can live longer and healthier lives.
To register to become an organ and tissue donor, please visit DonateLife.
Jake received his life-saving liver transplant from the team at the pioneering Australian National Liver Transplantation Unit.
Based at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the Unit is a combined facility of Sydney Local Health District, the University of Sydney and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
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Page Last Updated: 08 February, 2022