Kerri Cargill's supporters made this quilt but the wait for a double-lung-and-heart transplant has now lasted a year. Photo: Rohan Thomson
She's fighting for her life but Kerri Cargill's prayers are not only for herself.
The 44-year-old Canberra Hospital nurse has been waiting a year for a double-lung-and-heart transplant.
Ms Cargill is very conscious of the fact that when she finally gets her transplant it will be because somebody else has died but left behind a precious life-saving gift.
That person's family will also have agreed to a transplant.
"I would hope that if I'm lucky enough to get my transplant - I pray actually - that the family of my donor is cared for and supported with compassion before, during and after their decision,'' Ms Cargill says.
"Really I'm the one who gets the luck and the hope and the life. They've got the tragedy. So to me they're the more important people in the whole process.''
Ms Cargill spent 18 years caring for patients and colleagues at the Canberra Hospital before being forced to give up work in June 2012 over her deteriorating health.
She depends bottled oxygen and is living with her parents, Vicki and Roger, in Garran.
In a demonstration of how much she is loved by her family and friends, 71 people have helped make Ms Cargill a quilt featuring individually decorated love hearts.
Ms Cargill was left speechless when the quilt was presented to her at a surprise afternoon tea this month.
"It really does take a village to have a double-lung-and-heart transplant,'' she says.
The quilt was the idea of Ms Cargill's hospital colleague, Maureen Tolley.
Mrs Tolley instructed non-quilters, including several men, that they could learn the basics using YouTube.
"Some people said it's a challenge to do. And I said, 'No it's not; Kerri's got a challenge, not you','' Mrs Tolley says.
Ms Cargill first spoke to The Canberra Times in February to help promote awareness of the organ and tissue donation program.
Since then, Ms Cargill's pulmonary hypertension has progressed but she has continued to follow the advice of her doctors at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, including undertaking rehabilitation exercises three days a week. "Every day I'm just hopeful that the phone rings,'' she says.
At the end of October, more than 334 donors had given organs to 935 Australians, compared with 247 donors in 2012 when the national DonateLife Network was established.
The Organ and Tissue Authority says less than 1 per cent of people die in intensive care units or emergency departments in the specific circumstances required to be a potential organ donor. It says it is vital that potential donor families realise that they are among the few who have the opportunity to consider donation and honour their loved one's donation decisions.
■ Information on organ and tissue donation can be found: www.donatelife.gov.au