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South Australian Education Night

By May 8, 2024No Comments

Written by Angela Cairns, Manager of Support and Education. 

Over eighty people attended the Transplant Australia Education Night at the Royal Adelaide Hospital lecture theatre. The connection and community was evident in the buzzing conversation as people gathered around tables and refreshments. A team of Transplant Nurses also came to engage, with special acknowledgement to Danielle Stephenson (Renal Transplant Coordinator at RAH and Transplant Australia Living Kidney Donor Steering Committee member) for helping put it together.

This event was dual in purpose: furthering education of transplant recipients and carers, and bringing the large community of recipients in Adelaide together to network and build community.

Dr Matt Roberts, Infectious Diseases – RAH (our guest speaker) delivered an interesting and practical presentation on infectious diseases and living with immune suppression. Facts and figures around common post-transplant infections like CMV, to immunisations and cautions about ‘safe pets’, food safety, bacterial infections and viruses were so helpful. Dr Roberts incorporation of our very own ‘Living with Your Transplant Resource’ was affirming as he reminded people of Transplant Australia’s extensive online education resources.

Our bright and self-professed on the night, ‘data nerd’, Transplant Australia’s Medical Director, Dr Georgina Irish shared the latest ANZ data with facts and figures regarding current organ donation rates. Happy to share her knowledge, Georgie’s passion and intellect was well received, sparking some in the room to advocate further.

Angela Cairns (Manager of Support and Education) shared about Transplant Australia’s many initiatives, inviting people to become Members, to participate in the National Games and engage with the current and upcoming educational resources and support networks offered. Angela’s lived experience and empathy came across as she reminded people, “Though our circumstances may be unique, there is certainly strength, comfort and encouragement to be found when we come together in community”.

Brand new South Australian Chair, Chris Sweeney (who has undergone two liver transplants) was welcomed into his appointment. As well as Secretary Julie Black (wife of liver recipient) and Treasurer Peter Black (liver recipient). Their invitation to the next Transplant Australia SA event sparked interest as they told of their desire to build the Transplant Australia community within their State.

Guest speaker and kidney-pancreas recipient, Natalie Regan brought her story to the room with openness about the many ‘blips’ on her journey to and after transplant. As she told of the many hardships faced, she spoke highly of her husband who had more than delivered in his support of her ‘through sickness and health.’ Referring to her life as nothing short of a ‘miracle’, in the face of lifelong illness, she honoured her donor and gift of life, a sentiment reflected in the room.

It was wonderful to see the South Australian transplant community come together and connect.

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