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Justin's story

Justin's story
The greatest gift one human can give to another is the gift of life!

After his sister Megan was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, Justin was also found to have the condition and from then onwards the life of the family revolved around clinic visits and hospital admissions.

This is part of the story Justin told as he took every opportunity to educate his fellow mountain bikers about organ and tissue donation.

"The mountain bike bug hit me in the late 80s. Riding fully rigid bikes up the bush for hours on end was like mountain biking Nirvana. I rode until the early 90s, as often as I could, even though by then Cystic Fibrosis had taken its toll on my body. My weight dropped to 49 kilos, not a good look when you are six foot tall. I was oxygen dependent 24 hours a day and even the simplest of tasks seemed like tackling the final summit of Everest. The daily grind; shower, shave and breakfast, took hours.

It was a long and hard 12 month wait for my new airbags (lungs). I'd often look out the window and dream about hitting the bush again on the bike. Then a miracle! My new airbags arrived just in time.

Since that time I have raced in Club, State and National cross country rounds. My favourite form of racing is the endurance events - anything above six hours is what I really thrive on. I experienced the ultimate - the Canberra 24 hour race. As part of a four man team, I experienced a mix of emotions; I had finally achieved another goal: to be out on the course with the likes of world champ Trent Lowe. Nine years before I could not have hoped for this!.

Organ Donation is something most people think about doing but never let their loved ones know their wishes. So please, sign up and tell your family. Who knows, one day you or someone you love could need a life-saving organ transplant too. The greatest gift one human can give to another is the gift of life! Be in it!"

Justin eventually needed another transplant (a new set of airbags as he put it). During the first week after discharge severe complications arose and he was re-admitted. Justin died a few days later, attended by the staff who had become his friends and with his mother beside him.

Nicky Burton