DonateLife Week: Geelong mom’s daughter Robin Powell, who died awaiting lung transplant, pleads for more organ donors

Robin Powell’s time in line for a lung transplant was marked solely by “excitement”.

“There was no fear, no sadness,” her daughter Jessie said. “I couldn’t understand how she could be so positive. But the thought of getting new lungs helped her.”

This caused even more distress when, after several months of waiting, Robin’s doctors decided that she was too unwell to receive the new set of lungs she so desperately needed.

The Geelong mum of two, Victoria, died in February 2019 at the age of 60 – about a year after she was placed on the waiting list.

Sharing her story on the last day of DonateLife Week to encourage Australians to register as organ and tissue donors, Jessie describes the day she, her father John and younger brother Liam were told Robin would not get a transplant as “the most devastating day of my life” . “.

“We just knew that was it,” the 30-year-old said.

“After that moment it was palliative care, all hope was lost.”

Robin had been ill for most of Jessie’s life, but was diagnosed with autoimmune lupus about three years before her death. She also had benign nodules in her lungs that seriously interfered with her breathing.

“Toward the end, mom was bedridden and on oxygen 24/7,” Jessie said.

“She was a very outgoing, outgoing person, so it was very hard.”

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The news that her mother would die if she didn’t get a lung transplant was also painful.

“It’s pretty annoying when they say someone else has to die for your parent to live,” Jessie said.

“But one of the nurses explained that this means that someone else is not dying in vain. They potentially help so many people.”

One organ donor can save up to seven lives and help many more through eye and tissue donation.

Jessie said the loss of her beloved mom while she was delayed on the transplant waiting list made her “very loud” about the importance of taking one minute to register as a donor.

“It’s so quick and easy to do and a lot of people don’t realize how many people it can help,” she said.

“I made sure all my friends and family are registered. It’s so encouraging to know that you’ve made the decision that if, God forbid, something happens to you, it won’t be in vain.”

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Jessie also carries on her mom’s spirit.

“She was the absolute shooter, the happiest person, the funniest person,” she said.

“She loved so much and always put everyone above herself, no matter how bad she felt.

“I am so proud to be her daughter and continue her positivity and love of life.”


– Anyone over the age of 16 can register as a donor, you will never be too old or sick.

– Donor bodies are treated with dignity and respect, so families can still view open coffins.

-All major religions in Australia support donations

-You can only register with your South African driver’s license – in other countries you can do it through, the Medicare app or the MyGov website.

-Registration only takes one minute

– One donor can save up to seven lives and help many more by donating eyes and tissues.

– Around 1,750 Australians are on a waiting list for immediate organ transplants.

– A third of Australians aged 16 and over are registered as donors. If this rate were to double, about 200 more Australians would receive transplants every year.