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5th Anniversary of
Donor Heroes' Night
Saturday 18th May 2024
Celebrating Organ & Tissue DONOR  HEROES

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#DonorHeroesNight  #DonorHeroes  #DonorFamilies  #leavealighton  #forevergrateful

Thanks to Perth City Council House in WA for lighting up their Council Chambers once again help raise awareness ahead of Donor Heroes' Night on Saturday 18th May 2024

Donor Heroes Night videos 1 & 2 above display a selection of Donor Heroes that will be honoured and celebrated on the 18th May

Bruce McDowell, Graham Harrison and Heidi Johnston tell why
Donor Heroes' Night is important to them
What is Donor Heroes Night about and its History?

The 5th Donor Heroes Night is a national event which celebrates, honours and commemorates the men, women and children of Australia who have given the gift of life through organ and tissue donation.

This years Event aims to raise the profile of organ/tissue donation and transplantation across the broader Australia community.  2023 saw a national donation rate of 513 which still remains below the 2018 record high  of 554.   However, Australians donation rate remains 60% below that of Spain’s which leads the world at 48.9p/n.   While Australia is once again slowly improving from its poor base line in 2009, we should not remain complacent while Australia remains ranked 15th in the world.   By highlighting those that have given the Gift of Life we can generate greater interest for the public to embrace organ/tissue donation.   

From Donor Families Australia perspective the following can also greatly assist in raising the current Family consent rate from a low 55%:

  • Those wishing to be a donor following their passing need to have the conversation with their family,

  • The family need to educate themselves as to what the organ & retrieval process involves for them - (,

  • The management and support of donor families need to be consistent across all retrieval hospitals,

  • Communication post retrieval between donor families and their recipients and their family members need to be managed seamlessly,

  • There needs to be a strong repour between the Organ & Tissue Authority and Donor Families Australia (the peak Donor Family body) which does not currently exist.

  • While the Australian Organ Door Register is recognised as a helpful management tool, it should not supersede the issues identified above,

The Human Tissue Act as it currently stands has a strong bias towards the medical community with little or no involvement of donor families nationally.

It is said that "one is 10 times more likely to require a transplant of some nature in their lifetime than they would find themselves becoming a Donor Hero."

On May 2020, the inaugural Donor Heroes Night was undertaken.  The event was inspired by thousands of Aussies commemorating ANZAC day when they came out of their homes in the early morning to remember our ANZAC Heroes, light a candle or played the last post in their memory.   So why couldn't the same be done to acknowledge and celebrate the approximate 25,000 Donor Heroes who have given themselves to save or benefit others during the past 37 years.   DFA recognises all organ and tissue donors as well as living donors drawing on data provided from DonateLife and ANZDATA.

2020 resulted in 50,000 Australians through the various social media platforms being involved.

2021 saw this number rise to 125,000 that were involved in the weeks leading up to and including the night of the 18th May. 


2022 resulted in involving a total of 260,127 Facebook "Reaches, Likes, Engagements, Comments and Shared postings" which exceeded our original goal of 250,000.   The event for the first time reached out to several overseas organisations and it is hoped that this international exposure will continue to grow.   On the evening of 18th May 30,623 actions on Facebook involving posting photos of their light/candle and Donor Hero loved one accompanied by comments supported by family, friends, and the community at large occurred.

2023 was equally as successful as that of 2022, as DFA reached out to Australians Federal Politicians resulting approximately 20 from all sides of politics supporting the Event.  In 2024 it is hoped to expand such involvement as Donor Heroes' Night is truly a National Community Event 

For organ and tissue donation to continue to grow it is MOST IMPORTANT to have the conversation with your family members, educate yourself in what is involved in the process of becoming a Donor and remember to sign onto the Australian Organ/Tissue Donor Registry.

Songs that celebrate our Donor Heroes
My Donor Friend is a very special song sung by Jeff Leggett and friends  who has since passed away.
  Missing you mate.
Who are our Donor Heroes?

Donor Heroes are people from all walks of life who have donated their organs and/or tissues so that others may live.


In Australia we honour the lives of many thousands of donor heroes who have given the gift of life and or improved life to others. They're our brothers, sisters, parents, friends and children.


You can find a list of Donor Heroes and their stories here on the Donor Families Australia website.

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Who and How can I take part in Donor Heroes Night?

Turn on a (porch) Light or light a candle for all Donor Heroes;

  • if you are a donor family,

  • if your mate was a donor hero,

  • if you know of a donor hero,

  • if you are a recipient,

  • if you are a recipient family,

  • if you are in need of a transplant,

  • if you have signed the National Organ/Tissue Donor Register,

  • if you support Organ/Tissue Donation.


Take a photo of your porch light or candle and upload it onto our DFA's Facebook Page at together with your comment.   Donor Families are also encouraged to also post a photo of your Donor Hero if you wish.    You may also wish to post on your own Facebook Page, Instagram or Twitter account which can help highlight Donor Heroes' Night.   

You are also invited to join Donor Families Australia.   Donor Families are registered                                             
as members as DFA and Recipients and their family members as well as friends of                                                  Donor and Recipient families as DFA Associate Members.                                                                                          

How do I go about posting my photo?

Once your photo has been taken on your phone, undertake the following steps:





  • Scroll to the Post Heading "Donor Heroes Night"

  • Click on "Comment" to provide your comment

    then click on camera icon to add your photo.

  • To add an additional photo e.g. your donor

    hero, then on your original posting, click on
    reply to add your photo

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Who is Donor Families Australia?

Donor Families Australia is a national member-based independent support and advocacy group comprising primarily of families who have donated their loved ones’ organs and tissue.   DFA’s manifesto is to; Care and support donor families, Advocate by providing a voice for donor families where change is required, Educate the wider community of the benefits of organ and tissue donation, and Share our own experiences within our membership.   It's the only organisation of its kind in Australia specifically dedicated to supporting Donor Families.   DFA was established in late 2012 and its membership is currently close to 1,000 with over 2,755 followers on our Facebook page.   DFA also produces a quarterly newsletter with a projected circulation of 6,000.   Further detailed information can be found at

Can I give a Monetary Donation?

As a not-for-profit organisation, Donor Families Australia gratefully accepts monetary donations.   All funds received help DFA support its membership and raise greater awareness of issues impacting on Donor Families.


All donations over AUD $2.00 are tax deductible.

Media Enquiries and Releases

Media Enquiries & Releases


             Bruce McDowell             0427 645 262          Chairman/ Donor Family Rep.   Unit 2, 38 Preston Street, Como   WA   6152.                              Leanne Campbell           03 9438 3447          Dept.Chair/ Donor Family Rep.  Diamond Creek   VIC   3089

             Graham Harrison            0421 697 048          Event Coordinator                         V582, 8 Carrak Rd, Kincumber   NSW   2251          


ACT     Barry Mewett                   0408 024 110          Donor Family Rep                         Nicholls,   ACT   2913                   

              Holly Northam                0412 289 295          Ethics Advisor                                 Canberra   ACT            

NSW    Philippa Delahoy           0437 149 641           Secretary/ Donor Family Rep     Crows Nest, Sydney   NSW   2065                                 

              Graham Harrison           0421 697 048           eAdministrator/ D.F. Rep             V582, 8 Carrak Rd, Kincumber   NSW   2251

NT        Helen Day                        0418 646 389          Donor Family Rep.                        Darwin,   NT   8000

QLD    Jannelle Colquhoun     0414 385 530           Recipient Rep.                                Kirrawee, Brisbane   QLD   4054

SA        Jackie Robson                0418 369 741           Donor Family Rep.                        Adelaide,   SA   5047        

TAS      Rebecca Free                  0448 007 718           Donor Family Rep.                        TAS                         

VIC       Leanne Campbell          03 9438 3447          Dept.Chair/ Donor Family Rep.  Diamond Creek   VIC   3089

              Julie Wilson                     0413 381 460          Donor Mum                                     Melbourne  VIC  3337

WA        Bruce McDowell            0427 645 262          Chairman/ Donor Family Rep     Unit 2, 38 Preston Street, Como   WA   6152.       

               Anthea Openshaw        08 9795 5388          Donor Family Rep.                         Stratham   WA   6237

Media Releases to be issued during April/May
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Australians are urged to be involved
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Australians are reminded to 'leave a light on'
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Shine a light of remembrance for our Donor Heroes

Donor Heroes Flyer 2024

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Donor Hero Stories

Donor Hero Stories

Miliya O'Shea
Miliya (NSW)

Miliya was a gentle soul with compassion and empathy for those around her but was especially concerned about endangered animals.

Gemma Snowball
Gemma (WA)

She was hit by a driver making an illegal turn at traffic lights and did not survive.   

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Kyall (ACT)

Our son Kyall was a popular 22-year-old apprentice electrician when he was fatally injured in a car accident on 20 January 2013.

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Karen (TAS)

I still remember the first time my now husband took me out for dinner. He rolled up his sleeve to show me his “buzzing” arm.

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Peter (WA)

My name is Philippa Waldron from Perth WA.   I lost my wonderful husband Peter very suddenly after 37 happy years of marriage. 

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Michael (QLD)

Over 10 years ago my husband donated his organs to help save so many others lives.

Louise (VIC)

My “beautiful” wife, Louise, passed away at the age of 44 in April 2014.   Louise would have wanted to help as many people as best she could.   

Ben Harrison
Ben (NSW)

The Boy behind Donor Heroes' Night

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Alysha (WA)

Alysha (Lee) was 18 years old when she lost her life in a car accident.

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Jean (ACT)

In early 2005, Jean, my beautiful wife, and mother of our two sons, died suddenly

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Maureen (TAS)

In 2010, we lost our beloved mother, Maureen Kaye. We were a close-knit family of two daughters, their partners and one grandchild at the time of Mum’s passing.

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Scott (NSW)

My story is about my wonderful husband, Scott.   Scott was a fit and healthy 44-year-old who loved to travel, enjoyed good food, great coffee and even better wine. He was living life to the full.

Kevin Maddick
Kevin (QLD)

My brother was my hero.   He was diagnosed with Mesothalioma in April 2006 and underwent chemotherapy for 6 months but unfortunately this never helped him and just made him terribly ill.   

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Brett (VIC)

Your life reflected that of your favourite Looney Tune, Taz, a whirlwind.   As a child you even said to Mum that you felt you wouldn’t be here for a long time.

Lisa Ellis
Lisa (NSW)

Lisa Ellis was a mother of 2 and pregnant with her third child when she unexpectedly passed away.   Lisa’s third child was delivered via c section 3 months premature but today is a healthy happy teenager.

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Neill (WA)

My beautiful husband and father of our four children, Neill Openshaw, died on 1st January 2014

Richard Moon
Richard (ACT)

Our son Richard Harry Moon passed away suddenly from a brain aneurism on 8 March 2018.

Ben Clarke
Ben (TAS)

Ben was diagnosed with epilepsy at 15.   He had Tonic-Clonic seizures, but was helped with medication to a certain extent.   

Peter Robson
Peter (SA)

March 15th 2016 will forever be etched into our memory as the saddest day of our lives. That was the day we were informed that my husband of 34 years and dad to our 3 children was not going to make it.

Jack Sutton
Jack (QLD)

On the 26th May 2020, my world came crashing down. On this day, I had just spoken to my then 17 year old son on the way home from work, it was almost his 18th birthday and were speaking about what he'd like.

Laura Benham
Laura (VIC)

Laura was to be a Lung Recipient but fate intervened while in hospital that eventuated in her becoming a donor hero.  

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