Talk to your family about organ donation.
That’s the main message one Lower Hutt woman has ahead of her half marathon to raise awareness about donation.
Kerrie-Lynn Kerr along with four friends will be walking the Hawkes Bay International Half Marathon on May 13.
Kerr was inspired to walk the event for awareness due to her own medical history.
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She had emergency heart surgery in 2003 but a side-effect from the surgery meant her lungs “shrivelled”.
“The blood was pumping through the lungs twice [but] once the heart was fixed the lungs had to do half the work.”
She has needed a lung transplant since 2005 and has been on a nonactive list for the past few years.
Every few months she flies to Auckland to see a transplant respiratory specialist. During one visit she was catching up with friends when the idea to do the half marathon came up.
“We were sitting there one night and we said ‘let’s do this for a cause’ and, with my history, we decided organ donation was the best one.”
Kerr started organising T-shirts for her and a few friends taking part. She found a sponsor for the shirts, APS Ltd Complete Property Services and also coordinated with Organ Donation New Zealand for support.
Two team members from the organisation recently took part in Kerr’s warm-up walk in Auckland’s Round the Bays.
The main message she wanted to promote was to have a conversation with your family about what to do with your organs when you die.
“People aren’t aware that family members can override [your wishes].”
It didn’t matter what age you were, it was important to be clear about what you wanted so if the worst happened, your family knew what to do.
ODNZ donor coordinator Janice Langlands was supportive of Kerr’s work.
“Anything like that to raise awareness and encourage families to have a conversation while everyone’s there is great.”
“If families have had a discussion in the past they know the wishes [of the individual].”