MY BROTHER

by ANNALIESE GREMMO

1,600 people waiting… waiting for their lives to be saved by a hero. I am the extremely proud sister of organ donor Nathan Gremmo. On 30 April 2015 our perfectly normal family life was shattered when my brother passed away in a car accident. Life will never be the same without him. Six lives were saved as a result of Nathan’s generous gift.

Whilst we were in hospital, organ donation was the easiest decision that I helped to make. We needed something good to come out of this horrible tragedy. Could you imagine being on dialysis 12 hours a day, being injected daily with insulin, having lungs that didn’t work properly making you feel like you’re drowning or having a heart so damaged that it could stop beating at second? We are lucky in Australia to have amazing organ transplant teams with doctors, nurses and research units that save lives. In 2014 a total of 1,193 people received the gift of life from 378 donors.

World class facilities that have achieved some of the best transplant outcomes in the world; However only 50% of eligible families agreed to donate their loved ones organs. This leaves over 1600 people on a lifesaving waiting list. I’m here today to encourage people to think about and discuss tissue and organ donation. It’s as easy as discovering the facts about organ donation, deciding about becoming a donor, registering your decision online and most importantly discussing your decision with those closest to you so they are aware of your wishes.

Through Nathan’s legacy, our family has established Jersey Day – jerseyday.com.au. Each Jersey Day we are simply asking everybody to wear a Jersey to school or work, and most importantly have a conversation with their friends and family about Organ and Tissue Donation. Our family has endured the cruellest possible circumstances. I can only think that if our circumstances were reversed and Nathan was desperate for an Organ Donation we would move heaven and Earth to save my brother; However, the reality is that we would be waiting for a generous organ donor family to save Nathan’s life.

I think everyone here would feel the same way. I believe we all should live our lives the same way as my brother did with his selfless, caring and respectful nature. Nathan’s last Instagram post only hours before his tragic accident was:

“ YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, BUT IF YOU DO IT RIGHT ONCE IS ENOUGH”