Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Transplant girl on mission

Donatella Odisho has had two liver transplants - her first at 14 - and will be on medication for life. Photo / Greg Bowker
Donatella Odisho has had two liver transplants - her first at 14 - and will be on medication for life. Photo / Greg Bowker

More than 100 operations including two liver transplants are not usually seen on the CVs of beauty contestants, but for one Miss Junior New Zealand entrant, they are her motivation.

Less than five months since her second liver transplant and while still being monitored for organ rejection, Papatoetoe 16-year-old Donatella Odisho has joined the beauty pageant to raise money for The Kids Foundation that helped her since she was diagnosed with Wilson's Disease more than three years ago.

Donatella suffers a chronic form of the illness that affects copper absorption into body tissue and received her first transplant when she was 14 - just 72 hours after being rushed to hospital.

She stopped counting her minor procedures when they reached 100, and had her second liver transplant in May. She will take medication for the rest of her life.

"My health is doing great now," she told the Herald.

"I have been getting amazing results and now I can get out and about I am doing charity work for the foundation that has helped me."

Kids Foundation supports patients and their families during hospital stays, and often gives financial assistance.

"They were always checking on me and making sure that my school subjects weren't behind and trying to make life easier in hospital."

The Papatoetoe High School Year 12 student has had to study via correspondence since her diagnosis.

"I will be on medication for the rest of my life, but I wouldn't say it is scary," she said.

"I have overcome the biggest things that have happened to me and it has just made me see life so much better and my main goal now is to try and make younger teenagers see that they should make the most of their lives."

As well as modelling and public speaking, the Miss Junior New Zealand pageant - to be decided in April - coaches entrants in leadership, team building and confidence and has a charity goal of $15,000.

- NZ Herald

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