Last Sunday, we attended the DonateLife Remembrance Service…the fifth since my husband had his liver transplant.
DonateLife Victoria holds this Service annually to honor the donors and their families, and for recipients and their loved ones to give thanks.
And it is one event on our calendar that we always want to attend because it gives us the chance to pause and reflect about the amazing process that is organ donation…a process that saved my husband’s life!
It can be an emotional and moving service, but this year’s was also somewhat uncomfortable.
The service was held at a different location…the Collingwood Town Hall…due to the usual venue undergoing building works.
It is a lovely old hall, but it didn’t have the same respectful atmosphere due to it being a very ‘live’ acoustic space which meant every little noise was amplified.
Add noisy kids running around at the back and the latecomers who weren’t exactly light on their feet on the wooden floor, and it became very difficult to hear, let along concentrate.
As the speakers were telling their emotional stories of how their loved one became an organ donor…with many people around us were in tears…the background noise was overwhelming…and we were near the front!
However, I am not sure how it could be avoided…it is certainly not the DonateLife’s fault…the hall is very unforgiving, and some people have no awareness of how loud they actually were the effect it was having on others.
But despite all the background chaos, the two speakers did really well and it was so moving to hear them tell of their organ donation journey.
One speaker also spoke about how transplant recipients do not owe their organ donor…that they don’t have to live their lives honouring someone they don’t know.
The speakers’s view was for recipients to live their own lives…to not live in the shadow of someone else.
That as the organ donor family, they want to see recipients thrive…but from a distance.
A refreshing view, especially after the extreme views we were exposed to at a recent forum we attended…an experience that sadly has made us a bit wary when meeting organ donor families.
It was also great to hear the two transplant speakers…an adult whose life was changed for the better to corneal transplants, and a mum who shared her baby’s liver transplant journey.
There was a smile on everyone’s face when the bright yellow, very sick baby in the images projected overhead, was brought on stage by her grandfather looking healthy and happy!
After the service, I was approached by a lovely lady whose brother was an organ donor…she heard us talking about liver transplants and came over for a chat.
It was an honour to hear her positive view of organ donation, and to be able to share our experience of being on the other side.
And being able to talk with others is another reason why we like to attend the service…and there is always a good turn out of other liver transplant recipients and their families.
It was great to see so many familiar faces this year…there were at least 30 people connected to the LTU in someway, maybe more that we missed counting.
My husband having a liver transplant has meant we have become members of a wonderful community…an amazing side effect of going through a life threatening and very stressful experience.
We left the hall after the service feeling somewhat drained, but uplifted by yet another affirmation of just how wonderful organ donation is.
How it not only save lives, but totally enhances them…and not just for the recipients, but for those who love and care for them.
And we remain forever grateful to those that enable organ donation to happen…from the organ donors and their families, through to the wonderful staff who assist every step of the way.