IT WAS a tragedy when local man Aaron Argent was killed after a motorbike accident in 2018 - but his legacy of organ donation gave the gift of life to five others.
On Thursday, a plaque in Aaron's honour as well as a memorial park bench were unveiled in Westport Park at Port Macquarie - coinciding with DonateLife Week.
"Aaron was full of life. He was fit and healthy and had achieved his dream of becoming a PE teacher," Aaron's mother Jennifer Argent said.
"He had just finished working on the bike and was testing it. He wasn't going far, he was in the driveway of our family's property when the accident happened."
The 23-year-old from Bowraville had become passionate about becoming an organ donor following the sudden death of his cousin, Peter.
Less than two per cent of all hospital deaths are in the specific circumstances where organ donation can be consideredAnne Judd
Peter's mother and Aaron's aunt, Kerri Argent, said the family learnt a great deal about organ donation following Peter's death.
"Peter passed away suddenly after a skateboard accident and unfortunately he passed away too quickly and he wasn't able to become an organ donor," Kerri said.
Following her son's death, Kerri spent a year helping educate others on becoming organ donors.
"That's when Aaron became passionate about it and when the whole family became more aware of organ donation," Kerri said.
Jennifer said that there was never a doubt in her mind about Aaron becoming an organ donor.
"We knew that Aaron wanted to be an organ donor and we didn't have to think about it when he passed away," she said.
"We had the knowledge and education about it and knew that it was something he would have wanted."
The Argent family are hoping the memorial plaque and bench will encourage other families to have the conversation about becoming organ donors.
"It's lovely to have the plaque here and to remind people to register to become an organ donor," Jennifer said.
Mid North Coast Local Health District donation specialist nurse Anne Judd said the memorial would provide a special place for people to reflect about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
"We're hoping that this bench that is facing the water and the memorial plaque will inspire people to stop and reflect on becoming an organ and tissue donor," she said.
"With around 1800 Australians on transplant waiting lists, we need to optimise every donation opportunity to save more lives.
"DonateLife Week acknowledges all the individuals and their families who make donation possible and encourages others to register as organ and tissue donors."
In 2020, 1270 Australian lives were saved and transformed through the generosity of 463 deceased organ donors and their families.
"Most people are unaware that the opportunity for organ donation is rare," Ms Judd said.
"Less than two per cent of all hospital deaths are in the specific circumstances where organ donation can be considered. To ensure we save as many lives as possible, we all need to register and discuss our donation decision with our family."
Registering as an organ and tissue donor is no longer through the NSW driver's licence. To join the Australian Organ Donor Register, or check if you're registered, visit www.donatelife.gov.au.
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