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James' story

James indeed left a life saving legacy

James was waiting for an organ transplant as a result of the complications of a lifelong disease of juvenile diabetes (Type 1 diabetes).

A massive stroke left James brain dead but in his death he was able to donate organs and tissue so that the lives of 5 other Australians waiting for a transplant were saved and improved.

James was married to Sarah with three girls. 'His hypos were gradually getting worse and more frequent - he would pass out', Sarah recalls.

He was then diagnosed with kidney failure, started dialysis and was place don the waiting list for a kidney-pancreas transplant.

After going to bed James complained that his head was sore and so Sarah gave him paracetamol.

Sarah rang the ambulance - she noticed his left side wasn't moving, he was drifting in and out of consciousness and his speech was slurred. An ICU ambulance was called and he was taken to Blacktown Hospital.

He was transferred to Westmead and his family were told that he would never walk again. James was taken off to surgery to try and stop further bleeding.

Tests confirmed that James was brain dead at 31 years of age. When the question of donation was raised Sarah felt anxious as she knew the quicker they did it, the better it was for the recipients. Sarah was grateful for the support of the Organ Donor Coordinator and Westmead medical staff.

James indeed left a life saving legacy- heart, lungs, liver and the corneas of his eyes - yes, his corneas were in fine condition even though his disease was causing his blindness.

Through the organ donation Sarah said she thought of the recipients - 'they were getting the call, and how their lives were going to change for the better'.

'Coping as a single mum with three young girls, I am so proud of their father for being an organ donor.'

Nicky Burton