Coen Ashton, 17, underwent a double lung transplant two years ago and spoke about organ donation to more than 400 Rosebud Secondary College students in Australia.
Coen has been raising awareness about organ and tissue donation since he was nine. In 2010-11, Coen waited on the organ donor list for a suitable pair of lungs for 7 weeks and traveled 2,000 km journey to encourage Australians to join the register.
"If you really want to be a hero, register to become an organ donor and tell your family that's what you want," Coen told students.
Many came forward to register as donors with many vowing to join the register as soon as possible. "I'll definitely be talking to my family about organ donation tonight. Seeing the difference it has made to Coen's life makes you realize how important it is," said Ebony, 16.
Yharra, 17, said, "Hearing about it from someone my own age makes it real". Daisy, 16, agreed and said that Coen's story had also inspired her to make the most of her opportunities. "Even when he could barely breath he still did whatever he could to live his life the way he wanted to," said Daisy.
Less than 60% of the families in Australia give consent for organ and tissue donation to proceed while there are around 1,200 people on the Australian organ transplant waiting list. Though 90% of the Australian population support organ/tissue donation only less than half has registered a willingness to donate on the National Organ Donor registry.
The Australian Organ Donor Register is the only national register maintained by the Department of Human Services on behalf of the Australian Government. It records the individual's decision about becoming an organ and tissue donor for transplantation after death.