Rethink donating - donor lungs saved mum's life

SAVED BY DONOR: Tracey Slatter is recovering from a double lung transplant which saved her from dying from a rare lung disease.
SAVED BY DONOR: Tracey Slatter is recovering from a double lung transplant which saved her from dying from a rare lung disease. Mike Richards

DIAGNOSED with a rare and ultimately fatal lung disease, Tracey Slatter owes her life to an organ donor.

Now disease free and able to walk around, Mrs Slatter can't wait to get back into cricket and being there for her family.

She said her second lease of life wouldn't have been possible without organ donation and urged families to know their loved ones' wishes.

"It saves people's lives; one body saves 10 people," she said.

"I really encourage people to think about becoming a donor because without them I wouldn't be here today, pretty much."

The Gladstone mother of two underwent a double lung transplant in March to beat the disease that left her wheelchair bound and fighting for life.

Doctors don't know how she contracted idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which occurs most often in people aged between 50 and 70 years who have a history of smoking.

As a non-smoker, contracting a fatal lung disease as a 44-year-old was a shock for Mrs Slatter and her family.

"It's rare in someone my age," she said.

"It's more of an older person's disease. It's very rare and it's very deadly."

"Being a non-smoker, it was very upsetting to hear that I had a lung disease."

Since being diagnosed in June 2012, the condition was controlled with medication for months until Mrs Slatter could be placed on the transplant waiting list in late February this year.

After only 15 days on the waiting list, a suitable donor was found and she underwent surgery.

"I was very, very fortunate," she said.

"They fast tracked me because I was so sick.

"Transplant is the only cure, and a lot of patients die because they are waiting for an organ."

Topics:  gladstone lung cancer organ donation

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