I was born with kidneys that did not work. As a baby I had one removed and somehow a surgeon got the other one to function. I was not allowed to play rugby, but apart from that I was a normal kid.
At the age of 13, I started to get headaches, feel tired, thirsty and needed to go to the toilet more often. I was told that I needed a kidney transplant as the kidney I had was no longer working. I am one of the lucky ones as, following all the tests, my parents and sister were all compatible. Dad donated the kidney and I had the transplant. After a rocky year, things went really well. I was able to finish school, study medicine at university and travel overseas. I got married and had a lovely daughter. Things were great.
Then came the illness. I contracted a virus that resulted in the transplant failing. Despite the excellent treatment I received, the only option was another transplant.
My wife was pregnant with our second child at the time and my mother decided she would donate her kidney. Unfortunately there were problems with the blood vessels on one of her kidneys, so she needed to go through a long series of tests and reviews before she was able to donate.
Eventually the surgeon agreed to remove her kidney, repair the blood vessel and transplant it into me - a risky and rarely performed procedure.
After a period of eight months existing on dialysis, not sleeping and feeling tired all the time, during which time our second daughter was born, I had the transplant. After 24 hours, I was better, being able to live and be a husband and father to my family again.
Since then, I have completed my medical training and I am now a Physician. I am eternally grateful to my parents and sister for their love and support, staff at the renal units and to my wife and children who have supported and stuck with me through it all.