Tamworth’s Craig Lee was just a face amongst the 40 or more motorcyclists involved in Saturday’s Donate Life ride from Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie.
But the 48 year old had more interest than most in promoting organ donations.
Craig was fortunate to receive a double lung transplant two years ago.
He spent the last 10 years virtually housebound with a lung capacity of just two per cent.
“I couldn’t do anything. It was a very limited, horrible life,” he said.
“I suffered from a genetic disease that caused, amongst other problems, emphysema.
“That meant that I couldn’t even do the normal things of life, like showering or eating … I would simply lose my breath.”
With a successful transplant, Craig is back riding his beloved motorbike, walking and exercising and participating in rides such as the Donate Life event.
With his new lease on life, Craig says he wants to uphold the gift of life his donor has given him.
I couldn’t do anything. It was a very limited, horrible life.Double lung recipient Craig Lee.
Under Australian laws, he is legally bound to not contact his donors however Donate Life can act as a conduit between the recipient and the donor’s family.
“Hopefully one day I can meet them. They have given me a second chance,” he said.
“I understand it is a personal opinion but if you are in my position and you had that chance at life again you would grab it with both hands.
“And while the transplant is a major operation, the trade off is enormous.”
Craig said there were about 1400 people currently on a waiting list for transplant around Australia.
“One person a day dies because they cannot get a transplant,” he added.
The Donate Life ride was organised by Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker.