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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Coen’s story is just beginning

31 Jul 2014

Coen’s story is just beginning Image

For Coen Ashton, life has changed dramatically since receiving a double lung transplant almost two years ago.

From barely being able to move from the couch before the transplant, Coen is now able to do “all the stuff teenagers are meant to do”.

“The quality of my day-to-day life is better than I event dreamt it would be like before transplant,” Coen said.

“I can run, jump, laugh and walk forever.”

“In a broader sense, I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for my donor family. My donor, my Hero,” Coen said.

Born with cystic fibrosis, he received a double-lung transplant in November 2012.

He and is family lived at Yarra’s Edge in Docklands for a year, before a donor was found. They returned to their family home in Marysborough, Queensland in February last year following Coen’s surgery.

According to Coen’s mum Dawn, the biggest change since the transplant is that Coen no longer spends more time in hospital than he does at home.

“Not spending all that time in hospital allows us to catch up on all the lost time as a family,” Dawn said. “Last year we spent a few months sailing and enjoyed quality family time.”

She said the best part of the 20 months since Coen’s transplant included watching him learn to laugh, and to do simple things he hadn’t been able to do before, such as run and jump.

“Even after 20 months he is discovering how to do new things and the delight on his face is such a gift,” Dawn said.

“We are so grateful to the donor family whose decision to give the ok in their hour of grief has saved our child’s life. Coen would have passed away long ago had it not been for them.”

Before his transplant Coen jet-skied the 2000km length of the Murray River over seven weeks to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation, leading to more than 1000 people signing up to become organ donors.

Currently his focus is on encouraging people to “have the chat” and discuss their decision on organ donation with their family.

According to Coen, his health is currently “great”, having only spent a few days in hospital with a virus, since he received his transplant.

With a birthday coming up this month, Coen plans to spend the day going for a drive along Rainbow beach and then enjoy dinner with family and friends.

“I turn 17 this month and I am looking forward to getting my Ps,” Coen said.

In the meantime Coen is busy conducting life coaching sessions for primary and secondary school students and community groups around the country. Earlier this year he spoke in front of 6000 students at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.

And when asked what his next plans are Coen said there were too many to mention.

“Let’s just say my story has only just started.”

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