Charity calves bound for Mt Compass sale

Charity calves bound for Mt Compass sale

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Organ transplant support charity Herd of Hope is auctioning off its first calves at the Mount Compass market on May 29.

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Organ transplant support charity Herd of Hope is auctioning off its first calves at the Mount Compass market on May 29.

The eight Poll Hereford calves are from the cows that were walked on Sydney's Bondi Beach in March last year to raise awareness for families affected by organ donation, particularly those living in rural and regional areas.

Four steers and four heifers - aged between 11 months old and 12 months old - will be offered for sale.

The money made from the calves will be used to fund a camp for children across the country who have had a loved one become an organ donor.

That's how we've survived, people saying 'what do you need?' - MEGAN McLOUGHLIN

The five-day camp at Undoolya Station, NT, will run in August, with Herd of Hope founder Megan McLoughlin saying the event aimed to bring children together to "create their own herd".

"We hear it a lot that they feel like they're the only person who has gone through something at their school," she said.

"When the children meet these other people they realise they're not alone, there are other people going through this, and that's empowering."

Ms McLoughlin said the rural focus of the charity was very important.

"Considering 3 per cent of the Australian population works in primary industries, and 93pc of the Australian economy comes from that 3pc, it's in our best interest to look after the health of the people on the land," she said.

Pro-Stock Livestock's willingness to sell the calves was typical of the plentiful support Herd of Hope has received from various contributors, with Ms McLoughlin feeling humbled by the assistance.

Related reading: Herd of Hope at Bondi brings comfort to donor families

"That's how we've survived, people saying 'what do you need?'," she said.

"They might not have $1 million in the bank, but what they do give is so generous."

The original herd size of 40 is down to 18 Poll Herefords and the eight calves, with numbers reduced due to the tough season.

A Poll Hereford bull will be put with the herd in the coming weeks.

SUPPORT SOUGHT FOR TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS AND CARERS

Many people living in regional areas affected by organ transplants feel isolated and are in desperate need of greater medical assistance and peer support, according to a study run by the University of SA in conjunction with Herd of Hope.

Herd of Hope founder Megan McLoughlin said the study was inspired by many regional transplant recipients and their carers who had been reaching out to the charity for help.

"We were receiving about 100 forms of contact a week from people in regional areas, saying 'I feel isolated and I don't know what to do'," she said.

Ms McLoughlin, who is an organ transplant recipient herself, said recipients required significant support following transplants, and accessing the required support in rural regions was challenging.

"In the city you can find 40 doctors in ten minutes, but in regional areas we often only have a GP we've gone to since we were born, and many of (those GPs) aren't given information on transplants, or donor families and the mental health journey," she said.

It's a really simple proposal, people want to be able to contact others and find out they're not alone. - MEGAN McLOUGHLIN

"They can't keep up with it all."

Many recipients who participated in the study said they would rather drive long distances to see city doctors who were more familiar with the organ transplant journey, and familiar with a recipient's specific case.

"If I have any issues health wise, I've got to go down to Sydney," one participant said.

"No disrespect to my local GP, but I know more about transplants than they do, and the medication that I take, they don't really have.

"It's not their fault, it's just that I'm probably the only heart transplant recipient in [town omitted], so it's not fair for them to have to study up just to treat me, and they can't," the participant said.

Related reading:State awards honour SA contributors

Ms McLoughlin said emphasis also needed to be placed on people caring for transplant recipients.

"We often saw in regional areas that recipients were being cared for by their partner, and no one looks across to (the carer) to ask how they are," she said.

"The success of the treatment depends on (the carer) being able to listen, and them being able to follow everything through."

Following the study, Herd of Hope has approached Health minister Stephen Wade asking for support to ensure regionally-based transplant recipients and their carers feel less isolated.

"It's a really simple proposal, people want to be able to contact others and find out they're not alone," she said.

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