Have you had the conversation that can save lives?

Earlier this year, Department of Human Services staff member Christine Young, a registered organ donor, sadly passed away. But in doing so, she selflessly transformed the lives of 3 people by donating her kidneys and corneas.

Christine’s former colleague, Margaret De Lamotte, reflects on her decision to become an organ donor.

“My friend was a wonderful person,” Margaret said. “The difference her generosity and thoughtfulness has had on the lives of these recipients cannot be measured but will hopefully start others talking about becoming organ donors themselves.”

Christine started working in Medibank in 1975 and transferred to Medicare 9 years later. She spent the majority of her career managing the Camden Medicare Service Centre, where she was a passionate advocate for the Australian Organ Donor Register and tireless in her efforts to have people register their donation decision.

“She’d speak to anyone who’d listen about this,” Margaret said. “When handing out any kind of form which included registration for the Australian Organ Donor Register, she’d always ask members of the community if they wanted to complete that section and encourage them to talk to their loved ones about their wishes.”

Christine retired in December 2014 and sadly passed away on 19 February 2016.

To honour her legacy of giving, Christine’s friends and family donated to the John Hunter Hospital Brain Injury unit in lieu of flowers.

“Christine is dearly missed by all who knew her,” Margaret said. “She was always so positive and supportive.

“As my manager she got me through many challenging times personally. Her mantra to me was ‘count your blessings’ and that’s something I always remember when things get tough.

“I think it’s entirely appropriate that the kindness she so freely shared with her colleagues now benefits those she’s helped since passing. To me, she’s a kind of super hero – helping to improve the lives of people she hasn’t even met with her final wish.

“You can register to become an organ donor with the Australia Organ Donor Register and talk to your loved ones about what you want to do.”

Sunday 31 July–Sunday 7 August is national DonateLife Week. There are currently around 1,500 people on the Australian organ transplant waiting list and just 1 organ and tissue donor can change the lives of 10 or more people.