THE importance of organ donation has hit home for friends and family of Tracey-Lee Schuhmacher, who is already taking big strides on the road to recovery after a double lung transplant.
Just six days after her life-saving operation, Tracey-Lee has started sitting up, eating, chatting and even letting her mum do her hair.
Mum Elaine Doyle said her daughter, who has spent her whole life up until now battling cystic fibrosis, was already a different person.
"All those normal little things, it makes a big difference," Ms Doyle said.
"She gets tired quickly but has colour in her face and she's breathing normally now like the lungs are her own. A great deal of the tubes are out and they're keeping her upright now just to clear out what needs to be removed."
There's still a way to go on her path to breathe easy, but if it wasn't for the all-important donation of her new lungs, the outcome of Tracey-Lee's story would have been very different.
"Tracey was on the way out, her lungs were failing and if she didn't get these lungs... I dread to think," Ms Doyle said.
"(Organ donation) is such a big thing, but people are pretty blase about it until it hits home.
"They doesn't realise just how many sick people there are and for different reasons.
"If everyone who's able to can do it... it can make such a difference to (people's lives) and families and friends."
Ms Doyle added that Tracey-Lee had been overwhelmed and was very thankful for the amount of support and well-wishes she had received. Even her favourite NRL team, Melbourne Storm's Purple Army, has jumped on board with the fundraising efforts.
"She's been like a mascot to them," Ms Doyle said.
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