Transplant Australia is a national charity representing transplant recipients, donor families, living donors and all those touched by organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
Transplant Australia originated as the Australian Transplant Sports Association which was formed in the late 1980’s to provide transplant recipients the opportunity to take part in the World Transplant Games. The driving force behind the Australian Transplant Sports Association were David Cairns and Brian Donovan, both transplant recipients, who, in 1988, organised the first Australian Transplant Games to encourage transplant recipients to take part in sports and demonstrate the wonders of organ transplantation to the community. Another key player in the formative years was Mark Cocks, a transplant recipient himself, who played an integral part in both winning the bid to stage the 1997 World Transplant Games in Sydney.
With the growing success of the Australian Transplant Games, the Australian Transplant Sports Association was evolving to be much more than just a sports focused organisation to one that included donor families, living donors, medical personnel and others touched by organ donation and transplantation. This resulted in the formation of Transplant Australia in 1996 with Mark Cocks being appointed as the first Chief Executive Officer. Under Mark’s direction, Transplant Australia broadened its focus to include raising awareness of the need to increase organ donor rates in Australia. Mark was passionate about helping those awaiting organ transplantation so that they too could have the same opportunities for improved health that he had experienced. Mark Cocks OA held the position of CEO until late 2006, when ill health forced his retirement. The position of CEO was then taken over by Mr Chris Thomas, whose focus has been to broaden Transplant Australia to be the most professional organisation representing all facets of organ donation and transplantation.
Transplant Australia has grown from being a simple member run organisation to a charity responsible for staging the Australian Transplant Games as well as looking after the interests of all its members through advocacy, raising awareness and support.