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December 2018

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Author Patrick Guest with Aquinas College Ringwood students Jessica Johnston, Liam Steendam, Tayla Gioia, Elizabeth Murphy and Johanna O’Keefe.

Willing guest on organ donation

A successful children’s author whose brother saved many lives as an organ donor is spreading the word about organ donation at Victorian secondary schools.

Patrick Guest was awarded a community awareness grant by the Organ and Tissue Authority earlier this year.

The aim of the grants program is to fund ‘community-based awareness and education activities that contribute to increasing public understanding of – and support for – organ and tissue donation for transplantation.’

Mr Guest, who also works as a physiotherapist, is now funded to spend one day a week presenting his Hero’s Journey project to secondary students aged between 15 and 18.

Mr Guest said the project was ‘part-writing workshop and part-motivational speech where senior students are welcomed to adulthood.’

It also introduces students to the topic of organ donation and makes them aware ‘without pressure’ that people are eligible to join the Australian Organ Donor Register from age 16.

Mr Guest is open with the students about the death of his brother, Bryan, five years ago and how the decision was made to donate his organs and tissues.

‘You feel the temperature drop (in the sessions),’ said Mr Guest, who has also published children’s book – Rabby the Brave – which touches on organ donation for a younger audience.

‘It’s been really respectfully received by the students so far,’ Mr Guest said.

‘But, overall, (the presentation) is a celebration of adulthood.’

•      The program is free for Victorian secondary schools and will run until July. Email inquiries can be made to patguest@hotmail.com.