“I’ve gone from an existence to having a life.”
That’s the simple response Port Macquarie’s Graeme Borrill has to supporting organ donations through DonateLife week.
Mr Borrill received a new liver in January 2015 after being diagnosed with a chronic liver disease.
“I’m incredibly lucky,” he said.
“I would encourage everyone to have the conversation with their families.
“I cannot emphasise how important it is to talk about this and make sure your personal decision is carried out.
“It is not simply a matter of ticking the box on your licence. Your family has to carry out those wishes at the appropriate time."
Originally from Mudgee, Mr Borrill was forced to stop work in 2009 because of his illness. He eventually moved to Port Macquarie in 2010.
“I suffered from severe insomnia, my illness included a rotten itch and I had absolutely no energy,” he said.
I’m now living with someone’s liver in me. It’s pretty hard to get used too sometimes.- Graeme Borrill
Despite recognition of his illness, Mr Borrill was only placed on the waiting list for a new liver in 2013.
“There are only about 60 liver transplants per year and they focus on the worst case patients first.
“I’ve probably had the last five years of my life on hold and there were plenty of lifestyle changes that I needed to introduce too.
“I couldn’t mow the law without a break and I also was cautious if I was driving. It changes your life.”
Mr Borrill said waiting for the transplant was one of the hardest issues to go through.
“You know you won’t get better but you know you need a new liver to live,” he said.
He also said being a transplant recipient was a ‘conflicting journey’.
“I’m now living with someone’s liver in me. It’s pretty hard to get used to sometimes.”
Mr Borrill will be at Port Macquarie Base Hospital on Tuesday August 2 for a DonateLife Week event, along with Dr Bill Lancashire – the local transplant specialist and Anne Judd, Clinical Nurse Specialist Organ & Tissue Donation.
DonateLife Week is from July 31 to August 7 and is Australia’s annual awareness week in support of organ and tissue donation and is led by the Organ and Tissue Authority.