Coast mother donates own liver to save son’s life
ON THE night of the 2013 State of Origin the Price family received a phone call they'll never forget. A healthy liver was available for son Lachlan.
Mike and Deb Price rushed to the hospital where their 13-year-old son was prepared for surgery. He had already been in hospital for months, packed full of pills and tubes and deteriorating.
But the donor's liver failed and the operation was called off.
Lachlan had cirrhosis of the liver, a genetic condition where liver cells were replaced by scar tissue. Without a transplant he would die.
"Any parent knows only too well the need to do anything for your child," Deb said.
"We could see our child could no longer wait. We could no longer wait around watching."
Deb and Mike decided to put their own bodies on the line, and investigated whether they could become donors.
They both underwent tests and Deb's liver came up the healthiest, so she went ahead with the transplant.
Since the transplant two years ago Lachlan had been a healthy boy "full of learning, adventure and future hopes and dreams," Deb said.
Mike and Deb Price gave an emotional speech to a group of transplant recipients, organ donors and donors' loved ones who gathered at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Buderim on Sunday.
The annual remembrance event was organised by Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service to remember donors and give thanks for their life-saving gifts.
Intensive care specialist and respiratory clinician Dr Michael Putt said he was humbled by the courage people displayed when making the decision to donate their loved ones' organs.
"It's a very intensely stressful and personal time," Dr Putt said.
He said his team cared for families at the "very worst moments of their lives".
"The decision takes extreme strength and selflessness," he said.
"Individuals in the wider community benefit enormously when they do (donate)."
Participants, many of them weeping, lit candles in remembrance and each donor was given a flowering azalea. The annual tradition has seen many of the donors create memorial azalea gardens for their loved ones.