Nikki Irwin is waiting for a stranger to die.
That’s the devastating truth.
For her son to live – to really live like a regular seven-year-old – he needs a liver.
For Archer to attend school every day, to be able to play in a sports team and stay out of hospitals for weeks, someone must die and gift him a part of themselves.
Nikki has been waiting for the phone to ring for 10 months.
All the time knowing the call that will give her son life means someone else has lost theirs.
“He deserves a second chance at life, to be a normal kid,” said Nikki.
“It’s a horrible position for us – to be waiting for someone to pass away for Archer to get a chance at life.
“It’s a terrible situation… it’s hard for people to understand the mental side of it, to know you’re waiting for someone to pass away.
“We struggle mentally with that.”
As a baby, Archer was diagnosed with alpha one antitrypsin deficiency, which affects his liver and lungs.
Our hearts continually get shattered... hearing him not want to be part of this world anymore – commenting at 7 years old that this is ‘no way to live Mum’Nikki Irwin
Since then life for his parents has been a rush of fear, love, uncertainty, pride, hope, disappointment and utter devastation.
He’s a cheeky child, but he’s already been through so much, Nikki said.
“Our hearts continually get shattered every time Arch has to go through horrible treatments,” she said.
“Hearing him not want to be part of this world anymore – commenting at seven years old that ‘this is no way to live Mum’...
“I wish the people that oppose or have no decision on organ donation [could] live a day in our lives to help understand the trauma of waiting.”
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But the Irwin’s have not taken life’s blows lying down.
They’re fighting back.
She said from the doctors to the hospitality staff and cleaners, the people at AWH have provided world-class care and become a second family to the Irwins and deserve everyone's support.
“No one knows when you’ll need the hospital and often unless you’re like us and there often you don’t appreciate having such a great team and facility,” she said.
In 2017 Archer became the face of Donate Live. Nikki is a firm advocate for organ donation and telling your loved ones your intentions as they have the final say.
“If I am honest it makes me sad, bewildered and angry that 450 families last year chose to not donate their loved ones organs,” she said.
“It could have saved Archer’s life and up to a thousand other lives.”
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