By Caroline Zielinski
(Australian Associated Press)
A little more than a year ago Ante Kelic was writing a will to leave for his newly-pregnant wife, Kaya.
A long-time sufferer of a chronic liver disease and Crohn’s disease, Mr Kelic’s clock was ticking. He needed an organ transplant.
“Not only was my body deteriorating physically but mentally, I was in a fragile state,” he said at a Donate Life conference in Melbourne on Tuesday.
From age 17, illness had been his constant companion and then three years ago doctors decided more serious treatment was needed.
In July 2014, he was placed on a recipient list.
“I didn’t think I needed a new liver. I was a very busy, run-my-own business type of person,” he said.
But by the end of 2014, he was so sick he began to think seriously about death.
“Being 35 and having to plan your affairs and write a will is not something you want to have to think about,” he said.
In February, Mr Kelic finally got a new liver.
Four months later, his daughter Iva was born and now life couldn’t be more different.
“I’ve had two amazing gifts: a daughter born and a new life due to a selfless person’s act, and a selfless family”.
Mr Kelic is just one of 338 Victorians given a new lease on life last year, with 126 people donating a total of 406 organs to those in need of a new heart valve, eyesight, life-saving skin grafts and much more.
It was a record number in Victoria and across Australia.
Nationally, 1483 organs from 435 donors were transplanted in 2015, taking Australia’s donor rate to 18.3 dpmp (number of deceased donors per million population).
That was a 14 per cent increase nationally from 2014, the Organ and Tissue Authority said.
In Victoria nine more people donated organs than in 2014 and 16 more than in 2013.
However, Victorian state medical director Rohit D’Costa says more needs to be done so the state can reach its goal of 25 donors per million population by 2018.
Currently, it stands at 21.2 per million.
He urged people to talk to their families if they wished to donate, saying 91 per cent of family members consented to donating their loved one’s organs if they had prior knowledge.