Donors the real heroes

Anne Cowie, Pride of Australia award finalist and PlusLife managing director.
Anne Cowie, Pride of Australia award finalist and PlusLife managing director.

‘I’ve simply been doing a job that I love, a job that means something to me,’ she said.

The Morley resident was recognised for her work as the manager of PlusLife, a not-for-profit bone and tissue bank in Nedlands, for 21 years.

‘It’s been a gift really, both personally and professionally,’ she said.

‘I’ve worked with a tremendous group of like-minded people and seen the impact that the generous gift of bone and tissue donation has had on the lives of many people.

‘The donors and the donor families are the heroes.’

Mrs Cowie said PlusLife had supplied more than 15,000 grafts for surgical treatment of more than 8000 patients, which could not have been possible without ‘generous’ donations.

‘Our surgeons would have to source tissue from interstate banks if we did not exist,’ she said.

‘We actually send 20-30 per cent of our graft interstate to support demand, so there is the risk that they would not be able to source graft for their patients.

‘Our grafts are used for children and adolescents with spinal deformity, young people with bone cancers (often preventing amputation of a limb) and many patients with joint problems caused by debilitating arthritis and trauma.’

The former clinical nurse specialist said PlusLife was expanding and had to relocate.

‘We are waiting for cabinet approval to purchase a property in Midland, and then we need to mount a capital funding campaign to raise close to $10 million to build cleanrooms and laboratory areas,’ she said.

‘If anyone would like to make a tax deductible donation they can contact us via our website pluslife.org.|au.’

People can register their wishes about organ and tissue donation on the national register donorregister.|gov.au or pick up a form from a Medicare office.