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How this brave family saved a teenager's life

Wayne Fenton died five years ago, but his lungs lived on through Maryborough's Coen Ashton.
Wayne Fenton died five years ago, but his lungs lived on through Maryborough's Coen Ashton. Contributed

FIVE years ago on Tuesday, Skye Fenton lost her beloved father, Wayne.

On the same day, a Maryborough teenager received a set of lungs that gave him almost five extra years of life.

Coen following his transplant
Coen following his transplant contributed



Sadly Coen Ashton didn't survive to see the fifth anniversary of the day he received the most precious gift from Wayne Fenton and his family.

The organ donation advocate, who was born with cystic fibrosis, died on October 18 at the age of 20 while waiting for another transplant.

Coen had Type 1 diabetes and that combined with years of having to take medication meant he needed a kidney transplant.

Both his parents, Dawn and Mark, were ready to give him one, bad sadly he never become well enough to have the operation.

But today, five years ago, his family couldn't have dreamed of the possibilities that would open up to Coen, thanks to his donor.

For the first time in his life, Coen was able to breathe deeply, laugh and run.

For several years, his health improved and he was able to promote organ donation at schools across the country, as well as going off road in his beloved four-wheel drive.

Skye said she was glad that Coen had been given five more years of life thanks to her dad; she only wishes it had been longer.

"I'm definitely glad that he saved Coen's life," she said.

Skye's brother was the one who was tasked with making the final decision regarding donating Wayne's organs.

As he and other members of the family walked outside to get a breath of fresh air before going back in to say goodbye, they noticed Coen, who was in a wheelchair and on oxygen, in the emergency department of the Melbourne hospital.

It was Skye who put two and two together and realised that Coen had received her father's lungs. She said losing Coen was like losing her dad again.

Skye Fenton is glad Coen Ashton got an extra five years of life thanks to her father.
Skye Fenton is glad Coen Ashton got an extra five years of life thanks to her father. Contributed



At Coen's funeral on Saturday, Dawn addressed Wayne's family, who attended the service.

"We knew there was another family out there that was saying goodbye to their loved one," she said.

"It is a double loss for you today, because it's been almost five years to the day since Wayne passed away.

"We'd like to thank you so much for what you did for us. It means so much.

"In Coen's words, my donor my hero."
 

Topics:  editors picks family fctribute organ organ donation



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