Organ donation: just talk about it says drag queen Di Alysis

SPREADING THE WORD – Di Alysis cuts a fine figure at the Daylesford Chill Out Festival with Sarah Jane Hall and Julie Rowse.

SPREADING THE WORD – Di Alysis cuts a fine figure at the Daylesford Chill Out Festival with Sarah Jane Hall and Julie Rowse.

LIFE after an organ transplant certainly isn’t a drag. Just ask Max Primmer.

Max underwent a kidney transplant in 2012 after a calcium build-up in his bladder caused his kidneys to fail quite suddenly.

Now he and his drag queen alter ego Di Alysis are urging all Australians to talk about organ donation.

“More than 10,000 people’s lives have been saved as a result of a transplant since 2009,” he said.

Now 68, Max was on dialysis for three years before receiving the “magic call”. The transplant was “done and dusted” the very same day.

About 1400 Australians are waiting for a call to say a life-saving organ has become available.

Max knows some people who received a transplant straight away, and others who waited 10 or more years.

The Glenlyon resident attends the nearby Daylesford Chill Out Festival every March as Di, where he gets a fantastic reaction from the crowd.

While he did a little bit of drag in the 1980s and ’90s, he said Di was special.

“Once I had the transplant, the name came to me.

“Most people thought it an amazing name but didn’t get the significance.”

The Organ and Tissue Authority is using its DonateLife Week (July 29-August 5) to encourage all Australians to register their donation decision and to discuss it with their loved ones.

“Have that talk with your family about your wishes as family can still say no at that pivotal point,” Max said.

“It’s a traumatic experience after someone has died, they say no because they’re already in grief. If family know what the wishes were, it’s easier.”

Max said there was no age limit on being a donor.

“A lot of people think when they get to a certain age, they can’t be a donor any more, but certain parts of the body, like corneas, can still be used to give someone a better life.”

 Organ donation facts:

  • You can no longer register your donation decision via your driver’s licence (except SA). You need to join the national Donor Register at donatelife.gov.au 
  • It takes less than a minute to register online – all you need is your Medicare number.
  • Nine in 10 families say yes to donation when their loved one is a registered donor.
  • One in three Australians aged 16 or over (or 6.5 million) have registered their donation decision.
  • In 2017, 1675 Australians received a life-saving transplant thanks to the generosity of 510 deceased and 273 living donors and their families. A further 9600 people received eye and tissue transplants.