Coen Ashton talks to students despite kidney failure

Double lung transplant recipient Coen Ashton speaking to Riverside Christian College students last year.
Double lung transplant recipient Coen Ashton speaking to Riverside Christian College students last year. Valerie Horton

MARYBOROUGH teenager Coen Ashton has started The Coen Ashton Foundation to help raise awareness and fund research related to cystic fibrosis.

While his health has improved since his double lung transplant in 2012, Coen was admitted to hospital in Brisbane on Friday last week due to "a bit of" kidney failure.

But despite the health scare, he still persuaded his doctors to give him a day pass so he could speak to about 3500 primary school students from around Brisbane as part of a Halogen Foundation Forum.

Sitting in his hospital bed, Coen, 17, told the Chronicle helping raise awareness about the chronic illness he struggled with every day gave him the drive to get out of his hospital bed and get on the stage.

"I think it's the crowd that drives me to get up there and talk to them and make a difference," he said.

"If my life can make a difference to one other person's life then its worth it don't you think?"

When he was 13 he signed up 1000 new organ donors by jet-skiing 2000km along the Murray River in seven weeks, won a Pride of Australia medal, and then jetskiid the Murray again after receiving a double lung transplant in 2012.

Coen said the talk in Brisbane was one of many he had made to educate people by telling his story.

"The Friday prior to that (Brisbane forum) I did a talk in Melbourne to 5000 students," he said.

"During my last trip, I reached 22 million Australians which is almost all of Australia."

Coen said he wanted to encourage more Australians to "be heroes" and become organ donors.

"I wouldn't be here without my double lung transplant so being an organ donor is something Australians should be proud of," he said.  

Topics:  coen ashton cystic fibrosis

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