Brassey Weddings Masthead

Why we all should give the Gift of Life

Mallie Taylor

My husband and I had a whirlwind romance.

We fell in love online from opposite sides of the world and, seventeen days after we met, Matthew proposed to me. Less than three months later, I moved across the world from America and married him on the beach in Tathra. Our life looked like something out of a romance novel, full of laughter and fun and the funny moments of our marriage, which we readily shared with our friends and family on Facebook.

It was picture perfect — but lurking under the surface was a huge shadow. Matt was born with many health issues, that ultimately caused kidney and lung failure. He required dialysis three days a week for four hours each time in order to survive. He slept on oxygen, so he didn’t suffocate in his sleep. He was so positive and friendly, and always there for his friends. You’d never know he struggled so hard daily just to survive.

We knew our time together would be limited, so we celebrated every little victory, and each month we were married. We cherished every moment, because we didn’t know when it would end.

Then Matt ended up in the hospital with a lung infection. He was susceptible to every little bug, but this infection hit fast and hard. He was moved to the ICU and I rushed there to find him struggling to breathe even with a mask pushing oxygen into his lungs.

I was terrified I was going to lose him. Everyone in the room was worried we’d lose him. I crawled onto the hospital bed facing him, and held his face in my hands, my forehead pressed to his, telling him to breath with me. Doing this finally settled him down enough for a sedative to work to relax him to let the machine breathe for him.

 

That infection changed everything. It was time to talk to the transplant team because there was nothing else that could be done to keep him from slowly slipping away. We were cautiously optimistic about his chances of being the perfect candidate, and ready for a new pair of lungs to let us continue with our fairytale and start a family of our own.

Then we received a crushing blow. Despite previous medical opinions that this could work, we were told Matt wasn’t a candidate. He would not be placed on the lung transplant list. We were told to go home and enjoy the time we had left.

I don’t remember much of the trip home…

I do remember I couldn’t stop touching Matt, and couldn’t stop crying. He had received a death sentence. It would leave me a widow in the near future. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He made me so happy and he was the centre of my world.

On March 1 last year, I proudly pushed my husband in his wheelchair on oxygen in the Gift of Life’s DonateLife walk held in Canberra. He was proud to be there and to show his support for organ donation, even though he would never be a recipient.

Later that month, we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, the last milestone we’d ever celebrate together. Eight days later, on April 5, Matt passed away peacefully in my arms at our home, surrounded by our fur babies, just how he wanted to go.

This year, on 28 February, I’ll be at the Gift of Life DonateLife Walk, surrounded by our friends and family, walking in memory of Matt. There are not enough organ donors in Australia to meet demand — it’s why I lost my husband because only the ‘healthiest’ can be prioritised on the list.

Matt would have been proud to see his family and friends standing up and raising awareness for organ donation, something he felt so strongly about. Hopefully, hearing our story, people will understand how important it is to be a registered organ donor. If our story can change just one person’s mind and convince them to become an organ donor, Matt’s legacy will live on.

You can help change lives. You can help keep families together and save up to ten lives by registering on the Australian Organ Donor Register and discussing your wishes to be an organ donor. Talk to your family, find out their wishes, and explain your choice.

You can also help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation by joining us at the Gift of Life DonateLife Walk, on February 28 2018 at Regatta Point. The walk kicks off at 7 am, and I’d like to invite you all to join us! We’ll be there in blue shirts, so if you see us, tell us you’re there because of Matt!

the essentials 

What: Gift of Life DonateLife Walk 2018
When: Wednesday 28 February from 7 am
Where: Regatta Point
More information: www.giftoflife.asn.au

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Mallie Taylor

Mallie Taylor is a newborn and family photographer who moved from the US to marry her soulmate, Matthew. She's a mum to her gang of 4 cats and a 3-legged dog and fosters kittens for the RSPCA. She's currently writing a book about her and Matt's love story. More about the Author