ON THE LIST: Peter and Robyn Nixon of Grafton look through the room where Peter, who is waiting on a kidney transplant, does his kidney dialysis. Photo: Adam Hourigan
ON THE LIST: Peter and Robyn Nixon of Grafton look through the room where Peter, who is waiting on a kidney transplant, does his kidney dialysis. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Waiting for a chance at a better quality of life

ORGAN donation first became a personal issue for Peter Nixon when his brother's kidneys failed 25 years ago.

He put his name on the organ donor register, and it has been there ever since.

Now he is the one in need of a kidney.

About seven years ago, regular monitoring of Peter's kidneys - due to his brother's experience - showed their function was beginning to decline, and three years ago he was placed on the transplant waiting list.

The father of three and his wife Robyn are still waiting for the phone to ring with a life-changing call, but for now Mr Nixon's condition is managed with the help of renal dialysis every second day.

To negate the need to go to hospital each time, Mrs Nixon has learnt how to administer it at home.

The treatment greatly restricts the couple's ability to travel and means Mr Nixon is unable to work and often lacks energy, but they still count themselves lucky.

Mrs Nixon said people waiting for other organs, such as a new liver or lungs, didn't have a way to manage their conditions and could die waiting for a transplant.

"Research says three in four people (75%) would accept a donated organ, but only 69% of Aussies are willing to donate organs," Mrs Nixon said.

"Less than 1% of the population die in a way that allows them to become organ donors. The message is if you feel you would be prepared to become a recipient, be equally prepared to become a donor."

The Nixons have shared their story to raise awareness for DonateLife Week, which ends tomorrow, as they believe many people don't understand you must be a registered donor.

"A lot of people are under the impression that it still appears on your driver's license, but it doesn't any more," Mrs Nixon said.

"The most important thing for would-be organ donors to know is that you have to be registered and make sure your family are aware of your decision."

To register on the Australian Organ Donation Register, go to http://www.donatelife.gov.au.



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