Sixteen-year-old Coen Ashton, who is riding the length of the Murray on a jet ski, is hoping to inspire people to consider organ donation.JESS CRAIG February 28, 2014 4:33am
It’s not every day you travel the length of the Murray River on a jet ski, but Coen Ashton in the process of making the journey twice.
Coen, 16, was born with cystic fibrosis and received a double lung transplant in 2011 after years of struggling to breathe with his damaged lungs.
In 2010-11 he jet skied the 2000km length of the Murray River to promote organ and tissue donation.
Due to his health, constant treatments and promotions it took him seven weeks to complete the ride.
He signed more than 1000 new names to the Australian Organ Donor Register.
Now in the beginning stages of his second trip, Coen is back on his jet ski and heading upstream.
‘‘I want to get it done in seven days instead of seven weeks to prove the difference a transplant can make to someone’s life,’’ Coen said.
‘‘Having had the transplant, everything feels so different now.
‘‘CF is a lifelong condition, but the new lungs have helped.’’
Coen began his upstream journey at Goolwa in South Australia on February 22 and has stopped at Blanchtown, Renmark, Mildura, Robinvale and Barham.
The plucky teen whizzed into Echuca yesterday afternoon to meet some locals and share his story.
He’ll aim to finish the trip on Sunday at Yarrawonga.
He’s quick to point out that without his new lungs, he wouldn’t be on a jet ski.
‘‘I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for someone choosing to be an organ donor, and letting their family know their wishes,’’ Coen said.
‘‘I want as many people (as possible) to sign up to the organ donor register and let their family and friends know their wishes.
‘‘It’s so important.’’
Coen has been accompanied by 15 crew members, made up of his family and friends, and four other riders on jet skis join him daily.
‘‘The conditions have been really good, it’s been cold in the mornings, but the days have been beautiful and the river has been nice and flat.’’
Coen, who now lives in Queensland, grew up around Mannum and said he feels at home on the Murray.
For more information about Coen and organ donation, visit www.coenashton.com.au
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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