Lung transplant recipient meets her organ donor's family

The Sunday Morning | Harriet Alexander

Meeting for the first time: (from left) Jemha, Tracey Slatter and Chanel. Jemha and Chanel's mother Aileen Nguyen donated her lungs to Tracey after she died. Photo: Joe Armao

Two weeks after she was pronounced a dead woman walking, Tracey Slatter opened her eyes, breathed through her new lungs and knew at once she had a letter to write.

She had reached the end stages of a terminal disease only to be saved by the donation of lungs from a woman she knew little about, but who in death had literally breathed life into somebody else.

So when she arrived home in Gladstone, Mrs Slatter penned a letter.

She wrote another at three months, another at six months, another on the first anniversary of her operation and letters at Christmas and Easter.

"I told my husband I'm going to keep writing until they tell me to stop, and they never did," Mrs Slatter said.

"I tried to say how grateful we were, because I was dying. 'Thank you' didn't seem enough to me. That word 'thank you'. What they gave me, no gift could compare to that." Continue reading