When I was 18, I woke up one morning with one swollen leg. My GP referred me to a kidney specialist as I had traces of protein and blood in my urine. Further extensive testing including a kidney biopsy revealed I had an acute kidney disease which was rapidly killing off both my kidneys.
Kidney Dialysis was a very tough period. Fortunately my wife and family were there every step of the way keeping me positive throughout the process. My mother went through extensive tests to see if she was able to donate her kidney to me.
After 9 months of dialysis, my mother was told she was able to donate her gift of life to me.
I am 32 years old; still blessed with my mother’s kidney with only a few hiccups along the way. I am able to again surf, play football and golf. Best of all through the transplantation process my wife and I have one beautiful 2 year old daughter and another miracle baby on the way! Myself, my mother and my new family live a normal life today thanks to the transplantation process. A big thank you goes out to the whole Newcastle Transplant Team who made this possible.
Having this transplant means everything to me; I have a better quality of life.
Since the transplant I have been able to do more things. I’ve gone back to working in our Oyster farming business and enjoying my favourite activities like golf and travel.
I attended my very first world transplant games in Sweden in June this year, and what an experience that was.
Besides winning a gold medal in golf I was the first indigenous athlete to represent Australia at the world transplant games so I carried the indigenous flag at the opening ceremony in the city of Gothenberg, Sweden. It was a special moment for me and I was very proud.
In 2001 I received this miraculous gift of a transplant. I had been very sick while waiting for a transplant and lived every day in fear my life would end before it was restored.
My story could have been sadly different like so many who’s second chance never comes. The gratitude I feel towards my donor and the incredible transplant team at the John Hunter Hospital is immeasurable. They have given me the ability to live this amazing life and my family back their mother, wife, daughter & sister.
Madilyn’s Story – 9 years old
The thing I love best about my transplant is being a normal girl again, just like everyone else. I can swim, go to the beach and play in my backyard. I can have sleep overs and we can even go camping in our caravan. I can eat and drink whatever I want now.
I don’t have to be hooked up to my dialysis machine every night, so sometimes I get to stay up late.
Adam’s Story – 10 years old
I don’t really remember much about life before my kidney transplant or when I was on dialysis because I was only 1 year old, but I’ve seen lots of photos and my family have told me a lot about it. So the 5 things I like best about having had a transplant are:
I can play soccer. I have lots of fun hanging with my friends and family. I can go swimming. I can have sleep over’s with my mates, and the last but probably the best thing about having had a transplant is… We can go on family holidays whenever we want now I’m not stuck on a Dialysis machine, and I’ve even been to Disneyland!
In April 2002 my 1 year old son Adam was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and commenced on dialysis. It was a huge shock as he was born healthy & had remained so up until his first birthday when he became unwell and eventually ended up on life support at John Hunter Hospital. When we found out he would need a renal transplant there was never a thought that a family member would not donate, it was just a matter of working out who would be the most suitable. It became a long drawn out process due to medical complications but in the end I was the most compatible and in October 2002 I donated a kidney to our sick, frail little boy. It was his best chance of being able to lead a normal healthy life and the most amazing gift I could ever give him.
He is now able to do most things that other 10 year old boys can do like play soccer, swim, ride his bike & play with his mates. This would never have been possible without a transplant as children do not grow or develop fully on dialysis. To see him running around now just like any other 10 year old boy is a fantastic feeling.
I was offered a job as an underground fitter in a colliery, subject to passing a medical. The doctor said I had a lot of protein in my urine, indicating kidney failure. I had a checkup, only to find after ultrasound and xray, that one kidney wasn’t functioning at all, and the other only at 25%. I had to go on dialysis 3 times a week for four and a half hrs each time. But I was very despondent after all that had happened, and I found life not worth living. I seriously considered ending it all, because I was also in massive pain from an injury to my spine. My son Peter who holds a commercial pilots licence, offered me one of his kidneys as a live donor.
In August of 2010, we had our operation. A month later Peter went back to work in WA, and it felt like I was born again. I found I could work in my garden, play bowls, in short live a much more normal life without tiring as before. Back pain has improved also with exercise. I shall be forever grateful to those dedicated and expert people at our Newcastle Transplant Unit – JHH, plus my dear son, for they gave me back my life. May God Bless Them All.