Coen Ashton - The Full Story


G’day, my name is Coen Ashton. 

I have never lived a normal life.  I don’t go school, I have a holiday home called The Royal Children’s Hospital and I need a double lung transplant.

For 7 weeks I jet skied the 2000km length of the Murray River to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.  Not an easy thing to do when you need a set of lungs, but it was a great experience. Along the way I stopped at 25 towns and signed 1000 new names to the Australian Organ Donor Register.

I have continued to promote organ donor awareness while I wait in Melbourne for the phone call that will give me a second chance of life.

I need a double lung transplant because I have CF (cystic fibrosis) and insulin dependent diabetes. I can’t run, laugh or jump. I can’t walk more than 100m on my best of days. 


My day starts off with about 8 tablets, 45 minutes of physiotherapy, 10 minutes of nebulisers and a BSL (blood sugar level). At lunch another 2 to 6 tablets and a BSL. At 3pm there is another BSL. At dinner I have 2 to 8 tablets and a BSL. I need 2 meal replacements and even more tablets before bed to give me energy to breathe, and a guess what - another BSL. I wear oxygen over night and sometimes a bi pap machine which helps me to breath when I’m really not well. I am sure I have forgotten a few things but that’s basically a standard day for me. After my lung transplant I will only have to do the BSL’s and a few tablets in the morning and at night. 

I think people should donate their organs to give people like me a second chance in life.  If you think about it, when you die your organs will only be burnt or buried, why not donate your organs so that someone like me who needs them can have a second chance – and not be burnt or buried... well, not for a while anyway.

Australia has the lowest organ donor rate in the developed world so if you sign up to be an organ donor you can save up to 10 lives, like mine. 

In Australia, a person under the age of 16 cannot sign onto the organ donor register, so it is important that your family know how you feel about organ donation. From 16 to 18 years of age you can fill in the organ donor form and it will be registered but you will need to re-register when you turn 18 to make it official. Even if you are over 18 and have registered with Medicare as an organ donor, your family are the ones who will make the final decision on whether you will be an organ donor.  

The organ donor form can be downloaded from my web site www.coenashton.com.au

 ORGAN DONATION STATISTICS

  • One organ or tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people.
  • Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, yet has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.
  • Around 1600 people are on the Australian organ transplant waiting lists.
  • On average, people on the transplant list can wait between 6 months and 4 years.
  • For organ donation to proceed, the donor’s family will be contacted to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased. However, whilst the majority of Australians are generally willing to become organ (79%) and tissue (76%) donors, Australia’s family consent rate is low, with less than 60% of families giving consent for organ and tissue donation to proceed.
  • The most important thing that helps a family’s decision is their knowing the wishes of their loved ones.