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Father's whole-hearted thanks to all donors

FULL CIRCLE: Jim Cuthbertson hopes everyone will consider becoming an organ donor because you never know if you or your family will one day become a recipient.
FULL CIRCLE: Jim Cuthbertson hopes everyone will consider becoming an organ donor because you never know if you or your family will one day become a recipient. Paxton Roth

AS THE old saying goes, what goes around comes around.

Jim Cuthbertson, 62, learned just how true that was when he became a heart transplant recipient nearly two years ago.

The qualified plumber was pronounced clinically dead after a heart attack, but surgeons at the Prince Charles Hospital inserted an left ventricular assist device which kept him alive for 14 months until a donor was found.

More than two decades earlier, Jim tragically lost his son Jacob and made the difficult decision to donate the four-year-old's organs.

"It's a hard decision to make, it still hits me 20, 30 years later, but you know it's a decision that needs to be made,” he said.

Jim said being a recipient was an emotional process but having seen both sides of the story, he knew what was coming.

"You like the fact that you're alive and you're going to get your life back but there's a family grieving - it's really hard to come to terms with,” he said.

"I know what they've given because I've given and I've received.

"Now that I've received I'm so satisfied that I gave.”

Jim said talking with your loved ones about being an organ donor was an important conversation to have.

"The quality of life you can give to another person is something you can't discount - I could have lived on the heart pump but being on that machine to what I am now, there's a big difference.”

Thanks to the transplant, Jim is back at work and loving life.

"I've learnt how to look after myself better, what to do better and getting physically fit again,” Jim said.

"The technology and the dedicated of the staff in hospitals are second to none in saving peoples lives, they just need donors now.

"I want to thank all donors, especially my donor family.”

July 30 to August 6 is DonateLife Week and Australians are being urged to join the Australia Organ Donor Register.

With about 1400 Australians on waiting lists for a life-saving transplant, one organ and tissue donor can save and improve the lives of 10 or more people.

Statistics show nine in 10 families agree to organ donation proceeding when their loved one is a registered donor but only one in three Australians have joined the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Join the Australian Organ Donor Register at donatelife.gov.au.


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