Horsemen trekking for gift of life
Thursday, 22nd September, 2011
By Erica Visser
Three years after a double-lung transplant saved his life, 23-year-old Shane Dickeson is travelling 800km on horseback to let people now about organ donation.
Mr Dickeson has Cystic Fibrosis and he is undertaking the journey in memory of three friends who died from the disease.
The journey, named Horse Trek 2011 Riding for Organ Donation Awareness, began on Saturday at Cameron’s Corner and passed through Broken Hill yesterday. Today he continues on to a station property near Shane’s home town, Mildura.
Shane and two friends were doing the trek with a semi-trailer carrying 30 horses which they swap every 20 kilometres.
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease which causes a build up of mucus in the lungs, digestive system and other organs which means some sufferers require an organ transplant.
Shane said that being on the donor list was a nerve-wracking experience which could last from weeks to several years, depending on the suitability of matches and the number of donations available.
“I was pretty sick so my donation came just at the right time,” he said.
“Actually three weeks prior I was called and told there was a possible donor match so they flew me to Melbourne for tests but it wasn’t a good enough match.
“So when they called me at 2am for the second time, I thought it would be just another false alarm but it wasn’t.”
Shane said that while he was lucky to be matched with a donor after six months, many others were not as fortunate.
“I lost my three friends due to Cystic Fibrosis in a matter of months because they didn’t receive organ donations in time,” he said.
The aim of the trek was to encourage people in country towns to consider donating their organs.
“From living in Mildura I’ve found that there needs to be more awareness about cystic fibrosis and organ donation in outback towns,” Shane said.
“In the past it’s kind of had a bad name so I’m just doing this to say that organ donation is a good thing.
“One person who donates can save up to ten lives.”
It was important that people knew that even if they were registered as an organ donor they must let their family know their wishes because it was the family that made the final decision, he said.
“I just want to encourage people to look into organ donation and make sure they have a chat with their families about it”, Shane said.
If you wish to become an organ donor you can register online at www.medicareaustralia.gov.au, call 1800 777 203 or fill in a form available at Medicare branches.