Courageous Coen

Reporter/director: Tim Noonan
Producer: Rebecca LeTourneau
Date: 20 November, 2011
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Fourteen-year-old Cystic Fibrosis sufferer Coen Ashton has persuaded over 1,000 Australians to join the country’s Organ Donor Register after completing a gruelling seven week campaign to raise awareness.

Ashton, who requires a double lung transplant, rode the 2,000 kilometre Murray River on a jet-ski to persuade Australians to join organ donor lists. Australia has one of the lowest rates of organ donation rates in the world.

Without a lung transplant Coen is in danger of dying withing the next 12 to 24 months.

“I started off with camels, my mum said 'no, camels bite, spit and fart' and then dad said ‘why don’t you ski the Murray River’ and I said ‘why ski when you can jet-ski'.”

His effort won him this year’s Child of Courage medal at the Pride of Australia awards. However, the mission took its toll on Ashton’s lung function which dropped below 30 percent.

Recently, he was short listed for a lung transplant and the family moved to Melbourne close to the hospital.

Coen's registration form (Medicare coded)

The website gives extra information on Coen and has the organ donor registration forms specially coded so Medicare can keep a tally on the number of people Coen has directly influenced.

Further information

Cystic Fibrosis in Australia

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that affects a number of organs in the body (especially the lungs and pancreas) by clogging them with thick, sticky mucus. Repeated infections and blockages can cause irreversible lung damage and death. Mucus can also cause problems in the pancreas preventing the release of enzymes needed for the digestion of food. This means that people with CF can have problems with nutrition.

Make-A-Wish® Australia

Make-A-Wish® Australia is a non-profit organisation with a mission to grant wishes to children and young people with life-threatening medical conditions to give them hope, strength and joy at a time when they need it most. Make-A-Wish® has been granting the cherished wishes of sick children and young people in Australia since 1985, during which time almost 7,000 wishes have been granted. In 2011 Make-A-Wish aims to grant close to 500 wishes, equating to almost 2 wishes each working day!
Make-A-Wish receives no ongoing government funding and is critically reliant on the generous support of individuals and organisations.
For further information regarding Make-A-Wish Australia, please call 1800 032 260 or visit

Donate Life

Australia has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the world. To sign up for organ donation go to

Jes Lucas is a Young Ambassador

Our nationwide Young Ambassador program aims to further enhance our wish granting mission. Young Ambassadors are former wish children who have been invited to spread the word of magic among a variety of audiences.
An array of young people from all over the country now make up the Young Ambassador entourage, some are veteran Make-A-Wish presenters others are gearing up for their first time under spotlight. They all display passion, courage, leadership and a willingness to achieve.

Our Young Ambassadors will participate in a variety of tasks on behalf of Make-A-Wish Australia. They may be asked to appear in media photo shoots, represent the organisation at corporate or community events, speak at public engagements and write about their own wish and life experiences.
Word of our talented group has escaped and our Young Ambassadors are in high demand.

National Office
383 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121
PO Box 5006, BURNLEY, VIC 3121
Phone: (03) 9426 0732 | Fax: (03) 9426 0799

Sony Foundation

Sony Foundation Australia is the charity arm of Sony and we are committed to supporting youth facing a wide-variety of issues such as homeless, disease, disability and severe illness. When Make-A-Wish approached the Foundation and shared Jess’ story we were delighted to be able to help fulfil her wish to record a song and embrace the power of music to sustain the sprit. With the support of Sony Music, Jess spent a day recording her beautiful track Destiny in the same studio used by her musical idols. Jess’ sunny outlook is contagious and we wish her all the best for the future. I would encourage all Australians to purchase Destiny to help raise funds for Jess’ charity of choice, Make-A-Wish, for whom she is an ambassador. For more information on Sony Foundation please visit

- Sophie Ryan, CEO, Sony Foundation

Watch Jess on stage with Britney Spears in New York