Gloria Lineham with an image of her late daughter-in-law Tania when she received the Prime Minister's Science Teacher Prize.

Striving to give others a second chance

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Two people are now seeing the world through Tania Lineham’s eyes.

Tania had received a liver transplant 22 years ago after suffering for years from sclerosing cholangitis – a long-term progressive disease of the liver.

“She got a second chance and what she achieved in those 22 years is incredible,” says her Nelson-based mother-in-law Gloria Lineham.

Tania was a passionate and inspiring teacher who in 2015 was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize.

But on April 11 she died after complications arising from a second donation. However, before she died she was able to donate her corneas to two people.

Now her family, including her husband Craig, are continuing Tania’s cause – trying to pressure the Government to change the law on organ donation.

Tania thought the country should change the law to ensure more people on transplant waiting lists received organs before they died.

Currently organ donation requires people to ‘opt in’ rather than having it as the norm and needing people to opt out.

However, Gloria says that it is also important that people have the conversation with their families about what they want to happen at the end of their lives.

One in five people die waiting for organs. “It is such a precious thing,” says Gloria. “But people need to talk about it.”

Families can override the wishes of a deceased person in having their organs donated.
But the Government says the law is on the recommendation of an expert panel and there are no moves to change it.

“But if enough pressure is put on, anything can happen,” says Gloria.

Last year, 215 people received organ transplants thanks to 73 donors. However, demand for organs still outstripped supply.

Gloria says organ donation is all about giving people a second chance.

“And people do wonderful things when they get a second chance.”