Dying to live

Kate (Kitty) Hansen. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Alesha Capone

Hoppers Crossing’s Kate Hansen is using her tale of survival and hope to raise awareness of organ donation.

Ms Hansen, who is also known as Kitty, will this week celebrate 12 months since she underwent a life-saving operation to receive a donated kidney and pancreas.

Ms Hansen has organised a weekend round-robin netball tournament, to raise funds and awareness for Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation.

Ms Hansen is an ambassador for the foundation, which aims to “empower” people to discuss their wishes about becoming an organ donor with their loved ones.

Ms Hansen – who is also an ambassador for Kidney Health Australia – said doctors told her she had only around 12 months to live, if she did not receive a new kidney.

She received the news after suffering her third heart attack, on her 32nd birthday.

Ms Hanson said paramedics spent 90 minutes working to bring her back to life, and she was declared clinically dead for 10 of those minutes.

Aside from the heart attacks, Ms Hansen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was aged three.

In 2013, she spent 12 days in a coma, after a car accident which required her to learn to walk and talk again. After the accident, she was diagnosed with Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome, which can cause seizures and even death.

“I also have an acquired brain injury, so I don’t feel my fingertips, I can’t write my name easily and I get confused very easily,” Ms Hansen said. However, Ms Hansen continues to remain positive, and said she that would be “eternally grateful” to the person who donated their kidney and pancreas to her, plus their family

“I’m quite aware there is a family who is no longer whole,” she said.

“The day I had my greatest day, they had their greatest loss.”

Her netball tournament will be held at 10am on Saturday, and will include a screening of the documentary Dying to Live, about Ms Hansen’s medical journey.

Cost: $10 just to watch the documentary, team registration $25, player registration $30 including rainbow shoelaces.

The tournament venue, Hoppers Indoor Sportz, had been donated by owner Johnny Almond. Register at www.hoppersindoorsportz.net. au/ or see www.facebook.com/DonateForKate/ for details.