Property manager Kate Hansen’s second chance at life

On her 32nd birthday, Kate Hansen died for 15 minutes.

The Ray White property manager, who was desperately ill and in need of a kidney and pancreas transplant, was brought back to life by paramedics using CPR for 90 minutes.

Ms Hansen had been suffering from Type 1 diabetes since she was four, had been on the organ transplant list for seven and a half years and was having dialysis three times a week.

On Melbourne Cup Day in 2013 she crashed her car after a seizure brought on by high blood pressure and damaged both her kidney and pancreas to such a serious extent that she required a double transplant.

She woke up 12 days later, spent the next two years in recovery and was forced to wait for the phone call to inform her whether they’d found an organ donor for her.

Fortunately for Kate, she finally got the call in 2019 that a family had agreed to donate their loved one’s organs, which gave her a second chance at life.

“I was literally given the gift of life, through a new kidney and pancreas,” Ms Hansen said.

After now recovering from her transplant, the property manager has started studying for her real estate licence as she is passionate about helping people.

“I started in real estate 13 years ago, and I love working for Jo Boothroyd,” she said.

“The office is so supportive and patient with me.

“I have never felt so happy at work, I love work. 

“I am grateful to be able to come to work. I don’t take one day for granted.”

Ms Hansen is now an ambassador for Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, an organisation which has been campaigning for the past 17 years to increase the national donation rate.

“The statistics for organ donation are very grim,” Ms Hansen said.

“Currently there are 1806 people of which there are between 65 to 80 children on the national waiting list to receive a transplant today.

“Currently one in five people that are on the waiting list will die waiting.”

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation was established by Zaidee’s parents, Kim and Allan Turner, 16 years ago to raise awareness of the need for increased organ and tissue donor rates in Australia in memory of Zaidee and her legacy.

Zaidee died at the age of 7 years and 22 days from a burst blood vessel in her brain called a cerebral aneurysm. 

At the time of Zaidee’s death, the Turner family had been registered organ and tissue donors for four years.

“We are just asking people to have the discussion with their loved ones to understand their wishes if they would be an organ and tissue donor or not, as Zaidee did a few months before she died,” Ms Hansen said.

“Australia is ranked 21st in the world for organ donation.

Ms Hansen said Australia has a different system for organ donation compared to some other countries.

“In Spain, where the system is an Opt-Out, there’s no one on a waiting list, not one person,” she said.

“In Australia, you have to Opt-In to become a donor. 

“Many people don’t bother, so we need to start a social movement.

“I also want more people to donate blood, it all helps.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.