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Cruel twist for donor's father

DAVID GOUGH spent 25 days and 8000 kilometres in the saddle of his motorcycle travelling to more than 100 towns and cities preaching the importance of organ donation to anyone who would listen.

The campaigner's passion for the cause was prompted by the death on Christmas Eve in 2009 of his 26-year-old daughter, Melody, in a road accident. Her donated organs helped save the lives of three people.

Last Thursday morning, Mr Gough was riding to Transplant Australia's Sydney offices to discuss another ride following his February trip - but his BMW motorbike struck a power pole on the Pacific Highway at Greenwich. The retired ACT police officer died a short time later.

His wife, Robyn, told The Sun-Herald her husband was passionate about spreading the message about the importance of signing the organ donor register.

''He wanted to help the people on the transplant waiting list by making others aware of organ donation so more people could be saved. He really loved doing it,'' she said.

''David wanted to take it to the next level. He was having tests to become a living organ donor. He said he wanted to give one of his kidneys or part of his liver to those who needed a transplant.''


In a cruel twist, she said her husband was on the organ register but his injuries meant he was unable to donate his organs.

The federal parliamentary secretary for health, Catherine King, described Mr Gough as one of ''Australia's treasured advocates'' for organ and tissue donation.

''His personal commitment to [DonateLife Week] was infectious and inspired many Australians to think if not talk about their donation wishes with loved ones,'' Ms King, who had met Mr Gough on an awareness ride, said.

The chief executive of Transplant Australia, Chris Thomas, said that Mr Gough was on his way to the Transplant Australia office to discuss his next project compounded the loss.

''David had been excited to meet with us to discuss a planned ride through NSW and Victoria in the lead-up to the Australian Transplant Games in Newcastle later this year," Mr Thomas said. "I know everyone in the organ and tissue donation sector, especially those at the Organ and Tissue Authority and DonateLife ACT where he undertook much of his work, are devastated with this news."

The Organ and Tissue Authority and DonateLife, who Mr Gough represented on his February ride, praised Mr Gough ''as a tireless supporter and passionate advocate for organ and tissue donation''.

For more about organ donation, go to donatelife.gov.au or transplant.org.au.