This Is Jordan's Story, One He Never Thought He'd Get A Chance To Tell
A story of hope, survival and kindness.
Jordan Bate has had so many surgeries in his life, he’s forgotten exactly how many – but the deep scars on his abdomen are a permanent reminder of what he has endured.
The 19-year-old was born with a rare genetic disorder called Alagille syndrome, which can affect the liver, heart and other parts of the body.
In Jordan’s case, the damage to his liver was so bad, he needed a liver transplant.
I first met Jordan in 2015.
At 16 years old, he had been on a waiting list for a life-saving liver transplant for almost two years.
He was bubbly, interested, and kind – but more than anything – wise beyond his teenage years.
He was also seriously unwell.
“Once upon a time it was pretty rare for people to go through this process, but now people have the chance to dream and have a good future,” he told me.
Little did he know, his future would soon change dramatically.
In the first half of 2016, he got a phone call that would change his life.
A donor liver was available.
Now, Jordan is thriving.
He works two jobs, volunteers, and is going to university.
His transplant surgeon Associate Professor Kellee Slater was floored when she found out he was studying to be a paediatric nurse at Griffith University.
“Oh, that makes me so proud to see all that work from a kid that was facing a pretty dark future,” she said.
“His liver had worn out and he’d reached the end of his road.”
Engraved on Jordan’s new stethoscope are the words ‘My donor, my hero’.
His gratitude for the actions of a complete stranger and their family, very clear.
“There's so many words that could be said - I don't know if I'll ever find the right one,” Jordan said.
“Thank you is a good start though. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, and thank you for helping my family.”
“Everything I've done is for my donor. They have helped me so much. The reason I'm here today is because of them.”
Right now, there are around 1400 people waiting for a transplant, and for many, it’s a very long and uncertain wait.
Australia has an ‘opt-in’ system – donors need to sign up to be a potential donor.
But importantly, the family members of a donor need to understand and agree, too, before their loved ones can help others.
To find out more about organ and tissue donation, visit donatelife.gov.au