I have always tried to face challenges head-on, something which I have had to do since I was born.
At birth I was diagnosed with 1/8th of a working kidney and was told that I would never see my second birthday. Instead I spent the first five years of my life in and out of hospital having numerous operations.
I never had a childhood like all the other kids and I never played sport. Instead I learnt to play the guitar. It was a special gift from my grandfather when I turned 10 and a way to escape the stress of my health.
Dad was my first kidney donor when I was 12 years old. The change in my health was hard to believe. Before the operation I was wearing size six children's clothes and was unable to walk without the aid of crutches. Seven weeks after my transplant surgery I ran from the plane to greet my family - which brought tears to every eye. I was finally able to live and love life.
Ten years and three months later (I was told my kidney would only last 10 years), I had to face the same tough challenges again. Initially I required dialysis three times a week, but this was not sustainable due to the risk of cardiac arrest every time. For three years I had dialysis at home.
I received a call to say another kidney was available for transplant, which was amazing!
To this day, it still raises emotions when I think and talk about what has happened. Knowing that a family was going through so much pain and grief when they considered to donate a kidney which gave me back my life.
The challenges which I faced have taken a toll on my family, however I wouldn't have made it through these challenges without their continual love and support. Having Mum by my side gave me the strength to confront and overcome every hurdle that I was faced with.
Every year I have a very special anniversary and I promise to remember the generous gifts I received from my Dad and from that special stranger.