A Sydney man has become an unlikely hero in China because of a selfless gift that’s changed the lives of five strangers.
Phillip Hancock died in the south west city of Chongqing, and became its first foreign organ donor –
an act that left his parents, and his Chinese doctors, overwhelmed.
The 26-year-old adventurer from Emu Heights loved China and taught English to school children there.
“Just helping another person was mainly what he was all about,” his father Peter Hancock said.
He wanted to give back – even in death.
When Phil lost his life after complications from type one diabetes last month, he donated his organs, leaving his Chinese doctors stunned.
“He said, if I’ve got the opportunity and I’m ever in this situation and let them take what they can,” Phil’s father said.
It was hard for his family to accept that their son’s organs would stay in the city he loved, but Phil was the first Westerner in this city of 30 million to do it.
The story – and pictures of Chinese doctors bowing at his bedside – went viral, making news on Chinese TV.
He gave his liver, two kidneys, the corneas from his eyes.
The father of one donor recipient rang Phil’s dad to leave a message of thanks.
“It’s in Chinese, but you can tell how grateful this person is,” he said.
“It is good to know in five other people that he is living on.”
Australian authorities say Phil Hancock’s story serves as an important reminder of the need for organ donors.
While almost 70 per cent of Australians are willing to donate, only around half that have actually followed through and registered.
“We’d like all Australians to register their willingness to be a donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register,” Dr Helen Opdam from the Organ and Tissue Authority said.