Written by: Erin Jones, Regional Reporter, Sunday Mail (SA) Published by: The Advertiser , March 2018
Posted on: 10 Mar 2018
Topic: Clark Farm Equipment News
NO adversity is too big, or too hard to overcome for Megan McLoughlin.
As a child, she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, later became legally blind and needed an urgent lifesaving transplant, before being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015.
“I know there’s always someone out there worse off than me,” Mrs McLoughlin, now 36, of Tanunda, says.
“My grandma used to say to me all the time when I was little, “I was sad because I had no shoes and then I saw a man who had no feet’ and it always rings true to me.”
Forever the optimist, not even her Herd of Hope charity cattle drive across Sydney Harbour Bridge being cancelled by the Federal Government last year dimmed her enthusiasm.
The event – more than five years in the making – is to raise national awareness about organ and tissue donation, and support regional transplant services.
Sydney’s Waverley Council heard her cause and, thanks to overwhelming generosity from strangers across Australia, her dream will be realised on Saturday.
Mrs McLoughlin along with her father, well-known Allendale North stockman Jim Willoughby, brother Tom, and four others on horseback, will drive 40-head of cattle along Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
Herd of Hope founder and organiser Megan McLoughlin with her father Jim Willoughby. Pic: Naomi Jellicoe
“I really want to bring Australia together to realise there’s a lot of good that comes out of organ donation,” the mother of two says.
“I met my husband a month after my transplant and had two children, so in my case they didn’t just save a life, they created life.”
But one story resonates most with Mrs McLoughlin.
It is of Michelle Seccull, who donated her three-year-old son, Ethan’s, organs after he was tragically hit by a train near the family home in country Victoria, in 2011.
“She sat holding Ethan’s hand when the doctors said they weren’t going to get their miracle and they couldn’t fix him,” Mrs McLoughlin says.
“She said to her husband ‘we might not get ours, but we can give other parents theirs’.
“To hear her speak and say it (organ donation) was the right thing to do and the only choice ... for someone to be so selfless touches me because someone like that saved my life.”
Mrs McLoughlin, who was born with only one kidney, was diagnosed with acute renal failure and given three weeks to live in 2010.
She received a lifesaving call 20 days later and received a kidney-pancreas transplant.
Organ and Tissue Authority statistics showed there were 510 deceased organ donors in Australia, helping save or change the lives of 1402 people in 2017.