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Special Handover On What Would've Been James Ackerman's B'Day

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Ollie Ackerman holding the charging station which he presented to Wishlist on Friday.  Image Supplied 

James Ackerman would have been so proud of his son, had he lived to see him grow up.  

Former Sunshine Coast Falcons prop James, died in hospital two days after a collision with another player during an Intrust Super Cup in June 2015, leaving little Ollie without a dad.

On Friday Ollie, now seven, stepped up and presented Wishlist with 14 new Charging Stations for hospitals across the Sunshine Coast to make the lives of families a little easier while their loved ones receive treatment.

James' legacy lives on through his family’s tireless work providing ChargeBars to the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service and promoting organ and tissue donation.

The Ackerman family said during their heartbreaking ordeal they would have benefited from a charging station to help them keep in touch with family and friends.

The additional charging stations will be an invaluable device for thousands of local families and will be a regular reminder for many about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

James has helped save the lives and give better quality of life to 48 people, so far.

Sunshine Coast Donation Specialist Nurse, Shona McDonald, said it’s community champions like the Ackerman family that encourages more people to become a registered organ donor.

“There is little doubt their determination and willingness to share their experiences publicly will go on to save more lives than the ones that James and his family have selflessly saved already.”

“Most Queenslanders (76%) say they would be organ donors and realise just how important organ donation is, but only 28% have signed up to the Organ Donor Register. This is something we need to improve,” said Ms McDonald.

The ChargeBars will be installed in the Ambulatory Care Centre, the Mental Health Unit, Children’s and Families ward, Emergency and several other hospital departments. One of the ChargeBars will go into The House The Coast Built—an important addition to the affordable accommodation facility currently being built close to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

James' mum Sonya Ackerman said she is very proud of Ollie, saying "he takes a lot on for a little seven-year-old".

"He made it clear to me that this year, he was going to be the one to give the chargers to the hospital and I wasn't allowed to do it so we're giving him that opportunity today" she said.

Sonya said she is very grateful for the community support, saying "the community stood by us when we lost James...it's such a giving community".

She added that, "we're very proud and honoured that we are able to give back as much as we possibly can for James".

She said it was important to the family to donate the chargers on what would have been James' 29th birthday.

Sonya said it's turning a sad day into something positive. 

By Michelle Price 

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