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THE GIFT of a future was given to Michael Campbell-Jones in
2001. That year he received an organ donation, from a person
he never met, that gave him his life back.
Born with cystic brosis (CF), a recessive genetic condition, his lungs
were failing as he'd aged. At 26, only a month after he was placed on
the organ donation list he got the call.
Before the double lung transplant the former primary school
teacher was nding it hard to do everyday activities. Playing his
beloved rugby was even harder. Michael said he couldn't do much
and was on oxygen at night.
"I loved playing rugby and I could only last a few minutes and then
I would have to go o the eld," he said. "Luckily in third grade you
could have unlimited interchanges.
"I wasn't too bad for a while and then three months before my
transplant my FEV1, a test which measured the amount of air you can
breathe out in a second, was around 40 per cent.
"They usually don't do it until you drop under 30 per cent. It
dropped really dramatically during those three months and I was
"Because of the quickness that it dropped they were worried I
wouldn't be around much longer. So they put me on the list."
He purchased his rst mobile as soon as he went on
the list. Waiting for the call can be nerve racking. Knowing that your
life-changing event is also another family's life changing moment.
On a weekday afternoon in April he received the call at 4pm. By
6pm he was in hospital and by midnight he was being operated on. A
three or four hour-long operation and he had been given new hope.
Michael said he would have to be on immunosuppressants for the
rest of his life and his cystic brosis would eventually attack his lungs.
"It is amazing the di erence. I haven't felt this good since I was 10
or 11," he said. "I was able to play sports again to do everyday things
easily. I was back playing cricket, a bit of rugby and a bit of tennis."
Like other antipodean's Michael was also able to travel and ful l a
dream of teaching and living in the United Kingdom. Today he works
in Berrima as a strapper a job that he enjoys.
Grateful to the family that donated their loved one's organs Michael
wouldn't ever know how to thank them. Michael said they had given
his life back. "I would be worried that I wouldn't be able to say how
grateful I was," he said. n
Health & wellbeing | A gift of life
"I would be worried that
I wouldn't be able to
say how grateful I was."
A gift of life
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