Judy pools her transplant efforts
IN 1995 Judy Cavanagh was told she would have 18 months to two years to live.
Ten years on and one heart transplant later the 61-year-old Yeppoon resident and retired teacher is about to compete in her fourth World Transplant Games at Ontario, Canada.
"I had cardiomyopathy and it had got to the stage where three of my four valves were not working properly,'' she said.
"I was on the waiting list for three months, I was pretty lucky.
"One of my valves was good so it was put on ice for six months and now it's in someone who needed it.
"Now the donation rate in Australia is not as good.''
Mrs Cavanagh said as part of her recouperation she was encouraged to exercise.
"It was coming up to summer and getting too hot to walk on the beach so I decided to join the Yeppoon masters swimming club,'' she said.
"At the games I will be competing in the 50m and 100m freestyle, the 50m and 100 backstroke, the 50m butterfly and in the women's freestyle and medley relays.
"The games are held every two years.
"I've competed at Budapest, Japan and in Australia before. I'm happy to be able to be in a position to compete.
"You can compete in your age group and there are children right through to people 60 and above taking part.
"The games are not about each person individually but rather about bringing awareness to organ donatation.''
Mrs Cavanagh said it now was not just enough for people to tick the donor box on their drivers' licences.
"It's vitally important that you talk about your decision with your family,'' she said.
Mrs Cavanagh will leave next week to prepare for the Games which are due to start on July 16.