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Donate Life, the story of little Stephania Papadakis

Valasia Papadakis is familiar with the life-saving benefits that transplantation makes to people's lives. Her youngest daughter, Stephania, was put on the liver transplant waiting list when she was one year old, waiting 20 months before a liver became available.

"As a little girl Stephania was in and out of hospital and was not able to walk, play or laugh like other children around her. This was difficult to watch and all we wanted was for our little girl to be able to lead a normal life like other children.

"I find it difficult to put into words what it is like being on the transplant waiting list, waiting for the telephone call that would transform Stephania's life. This experience was not something that only affected Stephania; it affected our whole family.

"It was at midnight that we finally received the call. Nothing can prepare you for the call, and as we drove to the hospital we experienced mixed emotions. Crying tears of absolute joy for Stephania who was finally getting a new liver, and crying tears of grief for someone else's family who had just lost their loved one.

"Today Stephania is thriving and is a perfect example of what organ donation can do. Receiving a liver transplant has transformed her life and we know this is due to the generous act of the donor family who agreed to donate life in a traumatic time.

"I speak as a Greek Orthodox and while I can't speak for everyone, I urge you to help educate our children and communities about organ and tissue donation. Please talk to your loved ones about your donation decision so that more Australian lives, like Stephania's, can be transformed through organ and tissue donation. It's time that people understand that religion is not a barrier to becoming an organ and tissue donor" Valasia Papadakis.

Why should I become a donor?

People need an organ transplant when their own organs are failing. While donation rates are improving in Australia, more than 1,600 people are registered on waiting lists.

What does the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia say?

The Greek Orthodox Church in Australia supports organ donation as a selfless act of giving. Human life can be bettered through donation and transplantation while preserving the sanctity of life. The offering of one of the kidneys or tissue (skin, bone, marrow or blood) by a living donor is also favoured and encouraged.

Does my family need to know?

In Australia, the family will always be asked to confirm the donation decision of the deceased before donation can proceed even if they have registered. This is why it is important to share your donation decision with your family, and for you to know theirs.

For more information on organ and tissue donation, including your faith's position, please visit

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