30 years ago today, (August 4, 1986) my dad was the recipient of a lifesaving heart transplant at the hands of the amazing Dr Victor Chang and his team of talented surgeons at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney. I was seven years old at the time. At the time of the transplant, Dr Chang was hopeful Dad would live another 5 years. Dad lived 11 years beyond the transplant. Those lifesaving actions from Dr Chang and his team will always have an effect on my life and anyone who loved dad. In contrast, my family were always mindful of the family who lovingly shared the chance for our family to have more time together, by losing one of their loved ones.
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This week is Donate Life week. Encouragingly, transplantation rates are improving nationally. Yet 1500 Australians and their families are in limbo knowing they need a transplant, but without the one thing that will help give them a new lease on life. I often think of our national systems that promote organ donation and research, and development in the field. What has been improved? What can be further done? Will Australia change our transplantation system to opt-out? The conditions that need to be met to fit into the donor category are small. Who are the 1500 people waiting? How many will receive a transplant and how many will tragically die waiting?
I feel a strong connection to people like the family of Cole Miller, Ethan Seccull & Zaidee Turner; young donors, dying under tragic circumstances. Their families, who went through the loss of a young person and despite the hardship, enable the greatest gift. When will the national conversation begin? Are you able to imagine what it would be like to be on the waiting list? When will the government take steps to enable an opt-out system? Will we wait decades? Will it ever happen in Australia? 30 years ago, my family was the beneficiary of the greatest gift.
This gift still forms a part of my psyche. I think of the childhood I had, directly because of this gift, and although my dad is no longer alive, there isn't a day that goes by that our family wasn't grateful to the donor, his family and the amazing surgeons who saved dad's life. A conversation, detailing facts about the benefits of an opt-out system, need to be talked about.
Lynda Ward, Sebastopol
Ballarat has a complimentary bus service from the station to Sovereign Hill, but why not a complimentary bus or park-and-ride system from Sovereign Hill to all of Ballarat's attractions? This city is a prime heritage city and it is being wasted.
Rodney McNamara, Ballarat East
l am looking for confirmation that the tent church of St Alipius prior to the Eureka Rebellion of 1854, is on the same site as the stone one today. Father Smythe is given credit for hiding Peter Lalor in his tent church or manse and probably others after troops overran the stockade
Oliver Guthrie, Alfredton
The Woolpackers Inn (commonly know as Woolpackers Hotel) situated n Daylesford Road, Gong Gong. Licensee in 1871 was R. Ditchburn, then Patrick O'Day in 1875 and then the licensee became Mary Mulligan in 1914. However, Mary Mulligan was shown as the licensee in the "Ballarat Directory 1906", resident and licensee of the hotel, so was apparently the licensee for quite a long time. Officially, Mary is shown in the government gazette as the licensee of the Woolpackers Inn in 1914. This hotel was well known to senior residents of Brown Hill as McGraths who became licensee in approximately 1918 until the hotel closed in 1936. The Woolpackers Inn was in Daylesford Road and before the turn off to Springs Road, between Gregory Street (now known as Duggan Street) and Ditchfield Road. Perhaps the 'Ballarat trees of Avenue Honour' should incorporate our Thomas Mulligan and Herbert Mulligan from Brown Hill. Margaret McKenna, Brown Hill
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