Organ and Tissue Authority DonateLife invited Year 9 student Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ferguson to be a guest speaker at their recent ‘Writing for Life’ prize-giving ceremony.
As a transplant recipient, Lizzie shared her experiences of two consecutive transplants in 2011 and 2015 and how they improved her quality of life.
The ceremony was held in the lead up to ‘Thank You Day’, a national day to pay tribute to all Australians who make organ and tissue donation possible.
“I used my speech to thank donors and their families as they really are giving the gift of life,” Lizzie said.
The audience was made up of the competition’s finalists who have all been touched by organ and tissue donating in one way or another, and Lizzie said it was good to speak in front of people who would understand.
Her speech was short and powerful, captivating the audience as she shared her experience of two liver transplants in the last six years, with her first being such an emergency she was put at the top of the transplant list.
Lizzie recalled the late-night phone call from Sydney that they had a liver for her second transplant, and she was on a plane early the next morning.
“I questioned if it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it!
“We had to get over to Sydney as quick as possible as a liver can’t stay out of the body for very long and the donor was dying.”
She said she really wanted to use her speech to show how thankful she is to donors and their families.
“It is their decision too and I’m very grateful for both of the livers I received.
“Without my donors and their families I wouldn’t of had the opportunity to present at the ceremony.
“After my second transplant I was a lot healthier and I was able to go to school and see my friends, pretty much able to live a normal life.”
Lizzie said while it was nerve-racking to speak, it was really nice.
“I was happy to talk to allow more people to find out about organ and tissue donating.
“I had the family of a donor come up to me afterwards to thank me for speaking,” she said.
Lizzie encourages all people to become a donor to allow more lives to be saved.
“You’re not only saving one life, you are also saving a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, grandmother or a grandfather.”
If you would like to register to become an organ and tissue donor, you can visit the DonateLife website.