LOSING an organ is usually a scary thought for most people, but for Gordon Rutty donating a kidney wasn't a difficult decision to make.
He first started thinking of donating one of his kidneys around 20 years ago.
Gordon decided to become an altruistic donor nine years ago when someone close to him needed a kidney transplant and they received the life-saving donation from a relative.
Gordon also lost a friend to a brain tumour 20 years ago before another close friend passed away from cancer 10 years ago, which spurred him on to look into honouring them and becoming a kidney donor and help make a difference in someone else's life.
It took two years before a match was found and Gordon was able to travel to Sydney and undergo the operation to donate one of his kidneys.
"I thought that it would be really good to be able to help someone who needed it," he said.
Over the past week, Gordon has been trekking south from the Gold Coast to raise money for Transplant Australia.
"There are about 2000 people on the waiting list for an organ donation and two people die a week waiting for a transplant," Gordon said.
"The Walk to End the Wait is my way of raising awareness and funds for Transplant Australia."
Gordon walked up Wallace Street in Macksville on June 23, from there, after a short rest, he went to Kempsey and stayed the night.
Gordon stopped in at Port Macquarie on June 24, where he was greeted by Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson, who donated $250 from the Mayoral Discretionary Fundtowards his cause.
"The message for today is that people should be able to opt out of organ donation instead of having to opt in," Cr Pinson said.
The walk has been a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it's worth it.Gordon Rutty
Gordon agrees and said there should be discussions among family members regarding organ donation.
"Because people have to actively go online and opt in to becoming an organ donor, it makes it a lot harder," he said.
"It's not that people don't want to be organ donors, it's just getting on and doing it that can stop them because they put off doing it.
"Families should talk about it and make that decision so that it doesn't need to be made when a loved one passes away."
Gordon's Walk to End the Wait was scheduled to finish up at the Sydney Opera House on July 2, however due to current COVID-19 restrictions, Gordon has decided Port Macquarie will be his southernmost point of the trek.
"We'll now be walking back to the Gold Coast, so we'll be doing the same amount of kilometres but instead we'll be heading back north instead of heading further south."
Gordon has raised $16,000 for Transplant Australia, with all funds going directly to the organisation.
"The walk has been a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it's worth it," he said.
Gordon's Walk to End the Wait donation page can be found here.
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