A mum’s emotional tribute to her son’s organ donor has attracted an enormous response from families whose loved ones have saved lives.
Lisa Wallis, from Brisbane, said the donor and their family are never far from her thoughts and praised their generous gift in a Facebook post picturing her and her two sons.
Her eldest, Lachy Wallis, was born with Biliary Atresia - blocked bile ducts in the liver - 20 years ago, Ms Wallis told Yahoo News Australia.
Doctors predicted he would need a transplant by the time he was one, but after undergoing surgery to try and unblock the ducts at just eight weeks old, Lachy’s health seemed to stabilise until he turned eight.
He formed a secondary condition that starved him of oxygen and became extremely ill in a matter of weeks, she said.
“He went from being normal, to being blue, to not being able to breathe.
“He was basically dying right in front of us,” Ms Wallis told Yahoo News Australia.
The Brisbane mum said Lachy’s dad luckily turned out to be a transplant match and the surgery was scheduled for a Friday.
However, on the Tuesday before, Ms Wallis said they received a phone call that there was another liver match and urged her to rush the then eight-year-old to the hospital.
“It was an absolute miracle. In hindsight, he wouldn’t have survived until Friday,” she said.
“He would have died on the operating table if they had waited.”
While Lachy was undergoing the transplant, Ms Wallis said she went to the gift shop, bought a card and wrote a letter for their Donate Now transplant coordinator to give to the donor’s family.
“They are always in my heart. Without them I wouldn’t have my son,” she said.
The donor’s family later responded through the coordinator, saying Ms Wallis’s words had helped them with their grief.
The mum-of-two said the family’s generous donation gave her a “humbling, overwhelming sense of gratification” and said the moment was “bitter-sweet”.
“You get an overwhelming mixture of emotions - you know a part of someone else is in your child and another family is mourning the loss of their loved one, but it has given your child the gift of life,” she said.
After recovering from surgery, Lachy soon after became the first face of Donate Life in Australia and has “grown into a wonderful young man” who is currently doing an apprenticeship, Ms Wallis said.
Ms Wallis said she was moved to make the Facebook post after watching Lachy help his younger brother, Mitchell, get ready for his school formal.
“I wish they could see what they have given us,” she said.
Ms Wallis’s post attracted thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, many from people who had a family member who had died and donated their organs.
“My Dad was a donor 22 years ago now. Being able to donate at that time made such a difference to us…I remember getting a letter saying he’d helped a woman see her children for the first time,” one woman wrote.
“That's awesome. Sadly we always need organ donors. So pleased for your family. Sad for the donor family but I’m sure they gave with love,” another wrote.
Another mum said her son died last year at the age of 40 and several of his organs were donated to save other lives.
“Although still heartbroken, it gives us some strength to know others have been helped and can now lead a healthy life like your son. These photos warm my heart,” she said.
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