Cystic fibrosis sufferer Coen Ashton visits Tocumwal as part of his 2000km jet ski journey.March 12, 2014 4:25am
Coen Ashton (centre) with locals (back, from left) Emma Alexander, Alex, Laura and Tom Hatty, Jesse and Helen Barker, and Jock Hatty.
Cystic fibrosis sufferer Coen Ashton has pushed past his illness and jet skied the Murray River for the second time.
The 16 year-old finished the 2000km journey in Mulwala on Sunday, March 2 and was in Tocumwal the day before greeting locals at the old boat ramp.
Tocumwal woman Helen Barker said it was a great opportunity for everyone involved.
From Maryborough in Queensland, the teen’s journey came after a double lung transplant last year and coincided with DonateLife Week 2014 (23 February – 2 March).
Coen said he hopes his efforts encourage all Australians to have the chat that saves lives and ensure the organ and tissue donation decisions of loved ones are known.
‘‘I was born with cystic fibrosis, which made it really hard to breathe. I was suffocating and couldn’t laugh without painful coughing, and I could only dream of running, let alone jet skiing,’’ he said.
‘‘I had to wait for a long time for a new set of lungs. Now with my new lungs I’ve come back to jet ski the Murray to prove to everyone that being an organ donor and knowing the wishes of your loved ones is essential — it saved my life.
‘‘If you have decided to become an organ and tissue donor, you need to register your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register and most importantly, have the chat with your loved ones.
‘‘In 2011, I helped get 1000 new names on the Organ Donor Register. This year I’d like to double that number.
‘‘It’s important that people understand that by becoming an organ and tissue donor they could one day transform the lives of 10 or more people.’’
Coen’s adventure saw him jet ski the entire navigable section of the Murray River from Goolwa on the South Australian coast to Yarrawonga in country Victoria, shadowed by his mother Dawn, father Mark and younger brother Kai in a support vessel.
‘‘Coen’s Murray journey mirrors the challenging path he and many other young Australians with cystic fibrosis face as they struggle to take part in simple activities most of us take for granted,’’ Cystic Fibrosis Australia CEO David Jack said.
‘‘Coen’s story is an inspiration for everyone on the transplant waiting list, including those with cystic fibrosis and his message of hope and courage cannot be ignored.
‘‘For many people like Coen, a lung transplant is their only hope. The good news is that breakthrough medication is being developed to turn off the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis.
‘‘Medication that stops cystic fibrosis in its tracks is the key to avoiding lung transplants for many people with cystic fibrosis.’’
Cystic fibrosis is the most common genetic life-threatening disease affecting Australian children.
Affected from birth, people with the condition have difficulty breathing due to a build-up of mucus that clogs their lungs and digestive system.
Coen’s Murray voyage begun on Saturday, February 22 and finished with a party in Yarrawonga at the Mulwala Water Ski Club on Sunday.
The project was sponsored by the Organ and Tissue Authority, who also lead DonateLife Week, the national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation in Australia.
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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