By Danielle Kutchel
A Pakenham mother of five who had been awaiting a double lung transplant has passed away.
Marnie Horyniak received widespread recognition when she went public with her story of living with pulmonary fibrosis, a condition which causes damaged and scarred lung tissue. She used her experience to call for better awareness of organ donation.
Ms Horyniak had also been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and had been in hospital for an operation related to her Crohn’s when she passed away in mid-July.
Ms Horyniak had lived with the disease for much of her life and had been waiting for a life-saving double lung transplant.
At one point a pair of lungs became available – only for her to be told they were riddled with cancer.
Her five children are now being cared for by a family friend.
Close friend Danella Hawkins said Marnie’s death was a complete shock.
“She fought for a lot, and then it just happened.
“Luckily she got to spend the school holidays with the kids before she passed.”
Ms Hawkins has taken up Ms Horyniak’s fight and is hoping to continue to spread awareness of organ donation in her memory.
A major issue, she says, is that even though an individual can state that they wish to be an organ donor, the family can veto this and make the final decision when the potential donor passes away.
“Talk to your family, make your decision known, even have a written letter stating what you want in case something does happen to you,” she says.
For Ms Hawkins and other friends of Ms Horyniak, their focus is now on assisting the children to move forward and live the fullest life possible.
Anyone interested in supporting Ms Horyniak’s children can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/doing-it-for-marnie-and-her-babies?.