Second chance leads to three firsts

It was three gold medals and a new world record for Squadron Leader Mark Oksanen at the 24th World Transplant Games.

CAPTION: Squadron Leader Mark Oksanen wearing the gold medal he won in soccer at the 2023 World Transplant Games. Story by Leading Aircraftwoman Jasna McFeeters.

Squadron Leader Oksanen was diagnosed with a kidney and immune system disease 15 years ago, and he received a kidney transplant last July.

His gold medal haul at the World Transplant Games held in Perth in mid-April were won in soccer, men’s doubles tennis and javelin.

For the air traffic controller from 453SQN at RAAF Base Pearce, winning gold in three different categories was not enough, so he also threw a new World Transplant Games record in the javelin.

“I am so grateful for this amazing experience and I couldn’t have done it without my donor family,” Squadron Leader Oksanen said.

“It was an emotional week for me to play the sports I loved.”

He is looking forward to the Nationals in Wagga Wagga next year.

While the majority of Australians support organ and tissue donations, only about one in three are registered to be a donor. About 1800 Australians are on the waitlist for an organ transplant and about 14,000 people are on dialysis.

The Organ and Tissue Authority leads the Australian Government’s national program to improve organ and tissue donations so more Australians have access to a transplant.

This is done in partnership with state and territory governments, DonateLife teams, hospitals, health specialists and the community. Find out more at donatelife.gov.au


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