I have asked my family and friends, rather than buying me a gift for my 50th (argh), to donate a little money to the RCH in memory of my daughter Kaitlin Yolanda. You hear about how the RCH is a world class hospital, well I can tell you, from my personal experience it most certainly is! Most of you are aware of my story regarding Katie, but for those who aren't... She was my beautiful baby girl who was born in Perth on 20 September 1997. Three weeks after her birth she was diagnosed with a rare liver condition called Biliary Atresia. Basically, she was born without any bile ducts, so the bile was unable to get out of her liver and into her gut. The only "cure" for this condition is a liver transplant. As paediatric liver transplants are not performed in Perth, I had to temporarily move over to Melbourne and continue her care at the RCH along with the transplant team at the Austin Hosp. After 8 long months of waiting we finally got "the call"! Unfortunately, it was decided that liver was not suitable for Katie, but we were made aware of a situation in ICU. An 11 month old baby boy, who had suffered a brain aneurysm was in there on life support and his parents were being asked if they wished to donate his organs. What a dreadful situation. Their son was brain dead and they would never get to hold him again or see him grow up. Meanwhile, their decision was going to give my daughter a chance at life, as without a transplant she wasn't expected to live more than a few months. Those wonderful people made the courageous decision to donate their little boy's organs and to this day I still think of them.
After a marathon 16 hour operation, Katie had a never liver! All was progressing wonderfully, she woke and smiled at me. We left the hospital to get a bit of sleep, thinking we had turned the corner. That night we were awoken by a call from ICU saying she had developed a blood clot and was going back into surgery. Another 5-6 hour procedure. After this she was in a critical condition as her new liver had stopped working. The only solution was another transplant as soon as possible. So the next day she received another organ. I do not know anything about this donor, but I am still so grateful for that families' decision. Unfortunately and understandably, little Katie's body just couldn't handle the enormous amount of surgery it received in a one week period. On 2 December 1998, David & I turned off her life support and said goodbye to our little girl. So I asked two things from you, firstly please donate to the RCH and also, if your aren't already, please become an organ donor & discuss your wishes with your loved ones, as they are the ones who will make the final decision, regardless of you ticking the box on your licence. There is a huge percentage of people who wish to donate and yet the family refuse! Ok, I'll get off my soap box now.