The most important thing you should talk about today

Saraa Ackerman,  Petero Civonceva, Sonya Ackerman and Kaylene Hart at the DonateLife Week launch.
Saraa Ackerman, Petero Civonceva, Sonya Ackerman and Kaylene Hart at the DonateLife Week launch. Contributed

THE wife of late Coast footballer James Ackerman has launched DonateLife Week with a plea for young people to think 'What if?'

Saraa Ackerman said she had decided to be an organ donor when she was just a child as she knew how important it was to help save the lives of others.

She was 24 at the time when she had to give the go-ahead for her husband's organs to be donated after the 25-year-old died following a dangerous tackle while playing for his beloved Sunshine Coast Falcons.

"At that age, you don't think you will need to make a decision like that and you assume it's something your parents and older people need to think about," she said.

"James and I met when we were both 15 and learning to drive and back then, organ donation status was on your license, so we laughed at each other's photos but also realised that we were both organ donors so we always knew where each other stood when it came to organ donation."

Saraa was joined by former professional rugby league player and James' former Redcliffe Dolphins team mate Petero Civoniceva for the launch at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

The former NRL star has pledged to donate his organs and is campaigning for more people to join the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Saraa said it was comforting to see someone like Petero making a public stance on the issue and hoped it would bring the important message through to the sporting community.

By June 30 this year, 138 people had received life-saving transplants through the generosity of 49 Queenslanders and their families, who agreed to save lives after death. Register at

Topics:  donatelife james ackerman organ donation petero civoniceva redcliffe dolphins

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