In December 2010, I donated a kidney to my older brother Stephen at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The decision to donate was a quick one, but the process to do so took over a year. I travelled to Royal Melbourne Hospital twice before the operation and met the surgeons, anaesthetists, coordinators and physicians.
From my home town in Nowra, 1000 kilometres away from my brother, it all had seemed rather disconnected and surreal at times but those trips to Melbourne where I would meet him for our tests made me realise that this all made sense. His condition was deteriorating and when I saw this, I was completely comfortable with my choice to donate.
One great thing about live donation is that you know when it will happen. This gave me the best chance of being as physically and mentally prepared as possible. I made sure that I researched the subject and spoke to other donors to learn as much as I could before the surgery. This helped me, my partner and children to have a clear understanding of what was in store for us.
The transplant was successful and both of us were home for Christmas-which was spent quietly recovering. Stephen is now doing really well and I notice no difference in my health now that I only have one kidney. I feel so glad that I could make such a difference to someone's quality of life.
Support from family and friends was there before, during and after the event and for that I am so grateful. When I think about my experience, I remember I wasn't alone. Stephen and the rest of our family members had also gone through the whole experience too. We did it together.