Steve convinces others to donate
STEVE Griffin has no idea who gave him a second chance at life.
But every year, on the anniversary of the liver transplant that saved him, he writes a letter to the anonymous family of the donor.
"I will continue to say thanks for as long as I live," said the Yeppoon State High School teacher yesterday.
Born with a genetic disease, Steve was told by doctors he would be lucky to survive beyond 12.
And when he developed glandular fever at age six his chances immediately plummeted.
"I wouldn't have made it without the new liver," he said.
"It was a very rare operation that gave me a second chance and I will be forever grateful."
It took a further three years of specialist care before Steve was able to feel like a "normal child".
"I was very young but I remember it being a rough time.
"I missed all of Year 2 at school and I was in and out of treatment.
"It wasn't plain sailing until I was nine."
To see him now, no-one would guess at the early trauma in his life as he teaches maths and science and enjoys games of tennis and golf.
"Pretty much the only lasting consequence of the illness and operation is that I will never be able to play contact sports," he said.
Steve is sharing his remarkable medical history to encourage people to commit to donating their vital organs in the event of an accident.
This is Donate Life Week, when Australians are urged to tell their loved ones of their wishes so that more people can be saved.
Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the world and there are 1600 awaiting an organ transplant, 50 of them children.
"If I can get 10 people to commit to being a donor this week I will be thrilled," said Steve.