Coolbinia teenager’s leg saved by bone donation from PlusLife tissue bank

JUST five months ago, Coolbinia teenager Chloe Bettane (17) was facing the possibility of a leg amputation but now is on the verge of adventure.

After experiencing tiredness and noticing a lump on her left thigh, she visited a GP in July last year for an x-ray, which showed some abnormalities, but did not raise concern from the radiographer.

It was not until Chloe’s mother, Ros, sought a second opinion that a CT scan revealed an osteosarcoma – a tumour in her left femur.

The news came in October, a week ahead of Chloe’s Year 12 exams and she was rushed in for surgery four days after she completed them, with doctors transplanting allograft bone donated to bone and tissue bank PlusLife anonymously and a metal rod into her thigh.

Chloe, now fully recovered, is preparing for a trip to Israel.

She said she was not aware bone and tissue donation was possible before her experience.

“I didn’t even know the bone and tissue bank existed until I was put in the position where I needed a bone graft,” she said.

“I cannot begin to understand what life would have been like if it was not around to help.

“Without the selfless donor and this amazing organisation, my prognosis may have been very different.”

Chloe urged others to consider becoming tissue donors.

Orthopaedic surgeon and PlusLife medical director Professor Richard Carey Smith said a correct early diagnosis meant a 90 to 100 per cent cure rate for tumours.

“There is a high chance that Chloe would have ended up with an amputation through the proximal thigh, so it would have been a very different story for her,” he said.

PlusLife opened its $10 million state-of-the-art facility in Midland on he weekend.

To register as a bone, tissue or organ donor, visit www.donorregister.gov.au.

Since starting operations in 1992, PlusLife has provided more than 18,000 grafts to more than 10,000 recipients.