Nurse shares her life changing experience of organ and tissue donations

As a nurse and midwife, St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospital’s Julie Peacock knows all too well the life changing affects accidents, illness and medical conditions can have on wellbeing.

21 Jul 2020

St John of God Health Care Julie Peacock 

21 July 2020

She has also been fortunate to see the life changing benefits that organ and tissue donations can have on patients and their families.

As a recipient of two cornea donations herself, she has literally seen the benefits.

“I needed bilateral corneal grafts due to a condition called keratoconus which occurs when the cornea gets very pointed and not enough light is allowed through affecting my vision,” she said.

The condition required Julie to wear contact lenses for 15 to 20 years, although she also has very tight eyelids which made this very uncomfortable.

She was added to waiting list for cornea grafts in 2009 and had surgery on her first eye in 2012, and then received the second cornea graft in 2015 after waiting 6 years for a suitable donation.

“The grafts mean that I don’t have to wear lenses and my eyes are comfortable,” she said.

“I am able to see wearing regular glasses which has had a huge impact on my life and wellbeing and I have the additional benefit that I can now see underwater when swimming and read without glasses.”

Julie is sharing her story as a part of DonateLife Week (26 July to 2 August) to help promote organ and tissue donation in Australia.

“Recipients are forever grateful to donors and their families,” Julie said.

“In most cases it prolongs the working life of recipients and enables them to continue to be productive members of the community.”

St John of God Health Care’s Perth hospitals have assisted with seven cornea donations since 2019 restoring sight for 14 people and have also facilitated other organ donations to help save the lives of three people.

Julie said her own experience of receiving a tissue donation has helped her support families when they are going through the donation process.

“I have been there when organs have been retrieved and my own experience has helped me to explain the process and also let them know the positive outcomes for recipients,” she said.

“At these times I believe it has brought a sense of peace for families as their family member is continuing to assist the living.”

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