New mum gives new life after transplant
KATE Willis believes in miracles.
She believes in the power of determination and hope.
If she didn't, then she wouldn't have her little bundle of joy who she gets to read to every night, she wouldn't have been able to fall pregnant and she wouldn't be able to live the life she has.
Her beliefs stem from years and years in a hospital bed with chords and tubes attached to her body, until the age of 25.
Kate spend the majority of her life fighting the lung destroying disease, cystic fibrosis which lead to a double-lung transplant just over 10 years ago.
Kate's transplant gave her a second chance at life.
"Towards the end of it when I was 25 I needed oxygen 24/7 and was in hospital quite a lot so I needed a double lung transplant and I was lucky enough to get one," she said.
"It saved my life. I live really normally now, I still have diabetes and liver issues and I may need a liver transplant down the track but I was lucky to come out pretty healthy and the lungs I have are great."
Although Kate's new lungs meant a brighter future for the now 35-year-old, it did leave an uncertainty around whether or not she would ever be able to have children.
Originally Kate planned to become a mother through IVF with the help of her twin sister Brooke Brandon as the surrogate.
But six months ago another miracle occurred.
Kate fell pregnant.
It wasn't an easy pregnancy for the local naturopath who was admitted to hospital at 18 weeks due to blood pressure issues.
On February 26, at 27 weeks premature, Adaline Willis was born via a c-section.
The first 10 days of Adaline's life were spent in an incubator at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
But finally, another miracle happened, Adaline pulled through with no serious health issues and Kate and her husband John got to cuddle their baby girl for the first time.
On June 3, after 98 days in incubation, Kate and her husband John were able to bring Adaline home to Rockhampton.
"It was a miracle getting a lung transplant and now I have a baby so it's given me another life as well," she said.
"I think it's important for everyone to donate so that someone else can have a baby just like I have. I think people really need to spread the word about organ donations and I do think there needs to be more education around it, but I think it's a case of people only knowing the positive impacts organ donations have if they know someone who's needed one.
"I think if it hasn't touched you personally or someone you know then you don't really think about it but people should definitely think about it because it saves peoples lives and it gives people second chances."
Kate said there were times where she wished she could have met her organ donor to thank them for everything they had given her.
"I just wish I could see them and give them a hug," she said.
"They've given me this opportunity to have a baby and have a second life.
"Adaline's a little miracle and I'm just so grateful."
Last year, 1241 Australians received an organ transplant as a result of the generosity of 435 organ donors whose families agreed to donation at the time of their loved one's death.
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service donation specialist nurse Josephine Reoch said DonateLife Week was the national week to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.
"It's a great time for families to discuss their organ donation wishes," she said.
"It's something people need to talk about now. It may or may not ever affect our lives but it's something you want to have thought about before the question is ever asked. It's an amazing concept and process that ordinary Australians can save the lives of people they'll never meet, after they've gone . We all have the opportunity to save lives once we've passed on."