MARYBOROUGH teen Coen Ashton's mammoth seven-week jet-ski ride down the Murray River was recognised across Australia last week after it was announced he had made the shortlist for the Pride of Australia medal.
The cystic fibrosis sufferer, who recently celebrated his 14th birthday, has bigger things on his mind.
He is in desperate need of a double-lung transplant and is less than two months away from being placed on the transplant list.
Earlier this year, Coen tackled a 2000km jet-ski ride down the Murray River to raise awareness about organ donation.
Thanks to Coen and his parents Dawn and Mark Ashton, more than 1000 people signed up to be organ donors in honour of Coen's ride.
Despite finishing the ride in January, Coen has had to spend months in an Adelaide hospital to recover from the trip.
He is now being home-schooled by Dawn and struggling to regain at least 5kg he lost during the ride before he can have a transplant.
Since returning to Queensland in June, he has bounced between his home in Granville and his second home at the Royal Brisbane Women and Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
Coen is now able to spend up to three weeks at home before returning to hospital for a fortnight each time. The Ashtons will learn whether Coen wins the Pride of Australia medal in October, the same month they expect to fly down to Melbourne to await the transplant.
‘We could be gone for up to two years,” Dawn said.
She played a major part in co-ordinating the ride and extended her thanks to local businesses last week as the family settled back in to Maryborough.
The Mary River Lions club, Wide Bay Signs and Positive Batteries were some of the local companies who threw their support behind the family.
Dawn has urged people to continue signing up as organ donors at www.murraycodd.com.au.
Each form is specially coded by Medicare Australia to count towards Coen's tally.
Coen plans to tackle another trip up the Murray River after the transplant, but for now has only one thing on his mind.
“I can't wait to get to Melbourne for the transplant,” he said. Visit the Murray CODD Facebook page to follow Coen's journey.