The Gift of Life

It’s only when you come face to face with the gripping reality of a life threatening illness and the possibility of a reprieve that the importance of organ donation really hits home.

After receiving a successful lung transplant as a sufferer of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and being able to return to his productive working life, Mosgiel Real Estate Agent Lachie McLachlan really knows the meaning of gratitude.

“I was very unwell and really didn’t realise it until I experienced dramatic deterioration of my health,” he says.

“I was extremely fortunate that within seven months after being placed on a waiting list I received the gift of new lungs.”

“The list of people I have to thank for being alive today is a very long one,” he says.

“First and foremost is my wife Helen, who together with my family stood by my side throughout the whole journey.”

“Everyone who walked alongside me was completely integral to the success of the operation.”

“Ben Brockway, the Respiratory Specialist at Dunedin Hospital became a life-member of my family throughout the process.”

In New Zealand there have been 165 recipients of lung transplants in the last 20 years. This equates to about eight people a year.

“I was very fortunate. Some people wait for a much longer period than I did. It’s a matter of finding a donor who matches your specific requirements, including the same blood and tissue type.”

After months of rehabilitation and recovery Lachie has returned to his working schedule.

“Some people would call me a workaholic. But the truth is I love what I do. That is my major motivator.”

Lachie is using his own life story to encourage other people to consider the benefits of organ donation.

“When I look at the audiences that I am talking to I am aware that so many people have endured real tragedy in their lives,” he says.

“I know I have received a wonderful blessing.”

He expressed his gratitude to the family f his donor six months after the transplant and again six months later.

“Although they were really difficult letters to write I believe it is also a blessing for the families of the donors to know that their loss is not entirely in vain.”