My story begins with the declining health of my youngest brother Roger, the youngest of eight siblings. He was a dairy farmer with six kids of his own and was fit and healthy at 35 years old. It came as a shock to find out that his kidneys had failed him and he had become dialysis dependent.
From day one I offered to be a living donor for him, if ever that time came. For the first two years he tried peritoneal dialysis until his nephrologist told him he was deteriorating and needed a transplant. Roger is a guy who is too proud to ask for help. But this was a situation he could not get through on his own. He needed a kidney - I've got two - so I decided I was going to give him one of mine!
I went to the nephrologist to see if he thought I was capable of a donation. He gave me the OK. The next six months were a constant array of blood tests, MRIs and angiograms. Although this was annoying at times, these tests were needed to determine which kidney was best to take, and how healthy they were. Everything was fine, and a date was set for the transplant.
Leading up to the operation I felt confident that things would go well. I was quite nervous and scared on the morning of the operation, but the nurses were fantastic and put me at ease. The operation was keyhole surgery. The pain after the operation was managed with medication. I was out of hospital four days after the operation and went back to work after five weeks.
I set myself the goal of running the Burnie Ten four months after the operation, and that was achieved. This gave me the confidence to get back into playing football again, with extra padding of course, the following year.
Now nearly three years on, my body is feeling great, I have had no complications at all and feel no different than I did before the operation. Roger's new kidney is also doing well, so it has been a success so far, and one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. My wife Megan was a constant support for me through all of this and I can't thank her enough.