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Twanny's gift of life after 40 years

Most importantly, this journey would not be possible without the donor family.

My name is Twanny and I received a kidney transplant 40 years ago. Today, with the same functioning kidney transplant, I cannot help but reflect on my life and the people who played a pivotal role in getting me so far.

Originally hemodialysis was only available in hospitals, which consisted of six to eight hours, three times a week depending on overall health condition.

When my father died I realised what an important person this man was in my life. My rock. He directly and indirectly taught me how to be a man in so many different ways. The biggest lesson he taught me was that even as a man it was alright to feel different emotions and to be able to cry whether you were happy, sad or in pain. On his death the family agreed to his wishes to become a donor. So for our family the circle has been completed. I was a recipient and in turn, my father became a donor.

Since my transplant I have been diagnosed with many other health issues such as vision, cardiac and mobility issues just to mention a few. However this has not stopped me from enjoying life to the fullest. Though now retired, I have been gainfully employed since my transplant, the last 15 years managing my own business.

Socially I have participated in competition ballroom dancing, cycling, bowling, dining out and much more. The last 18 months have been a pleasure working with my guide dog Valli who keeps me company and keeps me safe.

Most importantly, this journey would not be possible without the donor family. Even though I don't know who they are and they don't know me, I'd like to think that I haven't wasted the gift I was given in their time of sorrow. This has motivated me to become a volunteer public speaker for DonateLife Victoria.

Finally, remember to enjoy life, as it is the only one we have.


Nicky Burton