Sunshine Coast Lightning players, coaches and staff were visited this week by DonateLife representative’s and a donor family ahead of the team’s Round 9 clash where DonateLife is the official match partner.

Organ and issue donation can save and transform the lives of people who, in many cases, are seriously ill or dying, and it only takes one minute to register as a donor.

Donation Specialist Nurse Coordinator, Kirsty Caley first spoke to the group about her role at the Sunshine Coast University where she coordinates organ donation on the Sunshine Coast.

Kirsty’s job is to identify patients at end-of-life, who could potentially be organ or tissue donors, speak with families about the potential for their loved one to be a donor, and coordinate the retrieval of organs in consultation with donor coordinators based in Brisbane.

After this, Mary Bourke — the mother of an organ donor — told her story. This is her story:

Mary has been touched by the death of a close family member three times, with all three family members dying from a brain aneurysm. Mary’ sister-in-law Toni was just 44 and a registered organ donor when she died suddenly. She donated her organs and that started a conversation among Mary and her husband Rod who decided they would donate if anything ever happened to them.

Not long after, Rod — a fit and healthy paramedic — suddenly died aged 49 in his sleep. Unfortunately, he was unable to donate due to dying at home.

Then in 2014 Mary and Rod’s eldest daughter Georgia also had a brain bleed while playing touch footy in Goondiwindi one night. Mary and her younger sister Mikayla and two brothers didn’t hesitate to donate Georgia’s organs. Mary said that when the doctors told her the bleed was catastrophic and there was nothing that could be done for Georgia, she told the doctors that Georgia would be an organ donor.

“They didn’t even ask me. They were taken aback by that, and I said we’d already discussed this and had already made the decision about it,” Mary said.

Mary and Mikayla now volunteer for DonateLife Queensland, helping at school talks, doing media interviews, podcasts and helping on registration stalls. They are an inspirational family who take great comfort in the gift of life that Georgia and Toni were able to give to others.

Mary Bourke, mother of an organ donor

DonateLife is a Storm Group Partner, and has been a proud partner of Sunshine Coast Lightning since 2019.

There are around 13 million Australian aged 16+ who are eligible to register as an organ and tissue donor, but haven’t. It takes less than one minute to sign up via https://bit.ly/MSDonateLife or just three taps in the Medicare app.

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