It was the day of the surgery: a laparoscopic nephrectomy for me, Patti (then aged 55), and a kidney to be transplanted into my brother Mark, then aged 45.
Mark had been on dialysis for 10 months as a result of high blood pressure. He had minimal energy, was in and out of hospital and was spiralling downwards into depression. My sister, Lyn, and I were tested and it came back that I was a six out of six, a perfect match.
People would ask if it was a difficult decision, but what had happened to my two brothers years earlier meant the decision was easy. My one remaining brother needed a lifeline. This was a very daunting thought for me, being a healthy person, putting their hand up to be opened up. I did a lot of research and prepared myself physically for the surgery.
I was operated on at Westmead Hospital on a Wednesday and left hospital on the Friday. Both Mark and I recovered well, and Mark is a changed person with a renewed zest for living and a much greater attitude to life and work.
I kept a diary of the lead up as well as the barrage of testing, the transplant day and the days and weeks after for both Mark and myself.
I have written a book called Six out of Six, which tells the journey for both of us. My target audience is anyone considering doing the same, to give hope to those on dialysis, and to raise awareness of organ donation in general.
I am grateful for the grant I received from DonateLife to help with the book launch and for the display of materials from DonateLife.
Mark and his family are very appreciative of this second chance at life. If anything, I am more motivated to stay healthy, as I can't afford to get high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.