Vern, heart recipient
At the age of 49, our lives took a sudden change forever. After returning home from a beautiful day with friends and family at the local Christmas parade, a viral infection caused me to have a cardiac arrest. A quick thinking new neighbour performed CPR and got my heart and breathing started, after which an ambulance transferred me to our local hospital. Six hours later I woke up in hospital very confused by what had happened, and it was then I was told that the permanent damage to my heart had left me with cardiomyopathy.
I was transferred to hospital via air ambulance for further treatment, and returned home again in time for Christmas Eve. I later travelled for more tests, only to realise due to the nature of my condition I would be unable to return to work.
I was assessed for a heart transplant due to the deteriorating health I experienced. Months later we got a call to notify me that a compatible heart had become available for transplant. We flew to Melbourne immediately and I received my heart transplant.
At this time we were the proud grandparents to three grandchildren with the youngest being one year old. Prior to my transplant, the only way I could hold him was if someone put him on my knee.
We now have four granddaughters and four grandsons. I am so pleased that I have had a further 16 years of life following my transplant that I otherwise might not have had. My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary - a milestone I just would not have been able to achieve without my transplant.
All this with thanks to our wonderful donor family.