Lauren Rowe is alive today because a stranger decided to become an organ donor.
Not only that – the donor’s family knew that organ donation was their wish.
Since undergoing her double-lung transplant at age 19, Ms Rowe has been a passionate advocate for organ donation.
Now, aged 27, she’s started a campaign to make sure everyone’s loved ones know their donation wishes.
The Raby resident’s #soyouknow campaign is gaining traction on social media, with several notable Aussie personalities taking up the cause.
Celebrities include Australian Idol winner Anthony Callea, his husband – and Campbelltown product – Tim Campbell, Today hosts Karl Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffries, and several stars from the Real Housewives of Sydney, Married at First Sight and Gogglebox.
Ms Rowe said she thought of the campaign when she spent some time in hospital earlier this year.
“I was a bit unwell and there was talk of me maybe needing another transplant,” she said.
“I started thinking about how Australia has one of the lowest organ and tissue donation rates in the world.
“I’ve unfortunately seen the real families behind-the-scenes of this need for organs, so I thought a campaign would be good.
“A lot of people don’t know that it doesn’t matter what you sign or what you put your name to, when it comes down to it, it’s your loved ones that make the decision on your behalf.
“That’s why it is so important that they know what your wishes are.”
Ms Rowe’s campaign encourages people to take a photo with a sign which says ‘Hey, I saw YES to organ donation #soyouknow’ and share it on their social media accounts, tagging in their next of kin.
Ms Rowe hopes the campaign will help “normalise” the “vital” conversation with family members.
She spoke about the campaign on Channel Nine’s Today morning program last week and was thrilled with the support she’s been getting so far.
“It’s great that I’ve had commitments to the campaign from a number of people,” Ms Rowe said.
“Dean from Married at First Sight went above and beyond and made a video as well. He was portrayed as a supervillain on the TV show, but this goes to show that he’s a good guy.”
Ms Rowe is also running a fundraiser for her non-for-profit organisation Gifted Life on May 20, called ‘A Psychic Afternoon with Tracey-Lee and Sharona’, at Campbelltown Town Hall Theatre. See the Gifted Life Facebook page for details.