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Organ donation recipient Lisa Kontos with her daughter, Hope

Organ donation gifts a second chance at life

29 Jul 2020

 

Organ and tissue donation saves and transforms lives.

No one knows this better than Jordan Springs resident, Lisa Kontos. In 2012, Ms Kontos was a fit and healthy 21-year-old when she was struck down by influenza, pneumonia and a staph infection. When her lungs were affected, Ms Kontos was placed on an ECMO machine to provide respiratory support and transferred to Nepean Hospital before arriving at St Vincent’s Hospital where she received a life-saving double lung transplant.

“I was in a coma for nearly two months and I was very lucky to receive lungs quickly,” Ms Kontos says.

Ms Kontos says she is still called “The Miracle Girl” by hospital staff who can’t believe she survived the ordeal.

She remains incredibly thankful for her donor and his family.

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here” - Lisa Kontos

Ms Kontos has not only survived but thrived since receiving the organ donation. Her now-husband proposed when she woke from the coma and earlier this year, the couple welcomed a daughter, Hope.

Ms Kontos says one person’s gift has given her “a second chance at life and my beautiful girl.”

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Lisa Kontos with her husband and daughter

This DonateLife Week, 26 July to 2 August, all Australians are encouraged to register to be an organ and tissue donor, and to have a chat about it with their family and friends.

Despite the majority of Australians being in support of organ donation, only 1 in 3 people are registered as a donor.

Nepean Hospital Donation Specialist Nurse, Jodie Cowell says, “Organ donation is a rare event. Only about 2 percent of people who die in a hospital can be organ donors. With over 1,600 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant and a further 12,000 Australians on dialysis, there will always be someone who will need a transplant.”

“We need to talk to our family and friends about our decision and most importantly, register our donation decision. It takes less than a minute to register to save a life,” Ms Cowell says.

Ms Kontos says that taking the time to register as an organ donor can save many lives.

“People don’t realise the extent to which they can actually help someone else’s life. My donor ended up saving nine other lives, it wasn’t just me,” says Ms Kontos.

“Today, I’m very healthy and blessed that there was someone out there who wanted to donate to help others.”

Register your donation decision at donatelife.gov.au