We all have different coping mechanisms. Some of us deal with tragedy through humour. Others through defiance or denial. One minute we are optimistic and the next we are beset with depression and anxiety. There can be a fine line between avoidance and keeping ourselves busy. Many of us turn challenges into triumph by giving back or becoming a role model.

But how would you feel knowing it was another person’s death that enabled you to live? Would you strive to live your best life? 

Crush Magazine recently spoke to local organ transplant patients who are determined to do their donors proud and make every moment count. There’s one thing they all have in common: they can tell you the precise time, date and what they were doing at the exact moment the telephone call came: “We found a match. Would you like to accept?”

We spoke to people nervously awaiting that very same call. They worry whether they’ll be in a position to accept an organ amidst COVID-19. With all their family living interstate, who will care for their children or pay their mortgage while they receive life saving surgery in Brisbane? 

We spoke to people who made the heartbreaking decision to donate their loved one’s organs after traumatic accidents. They challenge anyone put in that same horrific position to say ‘no’ in another family’s time of need. 

There is a single message each person we spoke to repeated: the option to be an organ donor is no longer on your driver’s licence. You need to register and have the conversation with your family. Seven out of 10 Queenslanders support donation, but less than one in three are actually registered. In Queensland, 86 people who died last year became organ donors, saving the lives of 253 Australians.

Despite the turmoil and challenges they’ve faced, the local recipients, donors’ families and carers we spoke to say they’d do it all again – without question. 

Their homely possessions say more about what they’ve been through than words ever could. Hobbies, souvenirs from their travels, much loved pets and family photos are evidence of lives well-lived. They’re poignant symbols of gratitude. It’s a gift that can’t ever be repaid, but they’ll keep trying by being strong advocates for change. 

Read our photo essay individual interviews

Anne Davies

Geoff Kirkman

Janelle Watson

Lyn Jarvis

Rhianna Johnson

Special thanks to local organ donation specialist nurse, Karen Jenner. 


Registering to become an organ donor is easy. It takes 60 seconds. Go to the website www.donatelife.gov.au with your Medicare card to register.  If you think you may already be registered, you can also check your status. After registering, make sure you express your wishes to your loved ones. Have the conversation.