The importance of organ donation was recognised on Sunday afternoon as a Service of Remembrance was held in Bundaberg for the 20th anniversary.
Families whose members have donated and received gathered at the Loyola Centre, Shalom College, to remember and reflect on the ultimate love – one life lost and another renewed.
The service recognised those who have given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation.
Lost for words as she stood before the intimate gathering, Rylee Ely remembered her mum, the woman who was selfless enough to help someone else in her passing.
Seven years ago Rylee’s mum passed away from fungal meningitis when Rylee was two years old.
Every year since, Rylee and her family have attended the service.
“This is really important for me to remember mum,” Rylee said.
With the help of her aunty Yvonne Ciocca they read the poem, The Gift of Life.
Yvonne said the service like this was important not only for the family, but also to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.
As more speakers took to the floor to share their experiences, chills ran through the audience as they shared the journey of the loved one, imagining themselves in their shoes.
First regional hospital to donate
In 1991 Bundaberg Hospital was the first hospital outside of a metropolitan area to offer organ donation.
Donation specialist nurse Martin Brennan said during 2017 there were 106 donations in Queensland and three of these were from the Bundaberg Region.
Bundaberg Regional Councillor Judy Peters has attended the service for two decades and said awareness in the community was important.
“It’s really important that we have an understanding about some of the emotions our community goes through,” Cr Peters said.
“Some of these families have given the ultimate sacrifice. The gift of life is so important.”
Cr Peters thanked hospital staff, saying the work they did made this community a better place.
Margaret Philips has also attended the service for many years.
As a nurse at Bundaberg Hospital, Margaret said she knew how important organ donation was.
“I’m here to support my friend today and without organ donation she wouldn’t be here,” Margaret said.
Donate the gift of life
By deciding to become an organ and tissue donor, you can transform people's lives.
About 1400 people are currently wait-listed for a transplant.
Another 11,000 people are on dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant.
“You can do this one thing that can change another family for generations and in a blink of an eye everyone should do it,” Cr Peters said.
“Absolutely everyone should register, because not everyone can when it comes time to.
“But for the person who does, their memory will live on through the next person.”
To find out more about registering click here.
- The Bundaberg Health Services Foundation held a high tea on 18 May to raise funds for the Intensive Care Unit of the Bundaberg Hospital.