When my mother was pregnant with me she was told it was likely I’d suffer from renal problems, and I did. My kidneys didn’t form properly and the impact of that as I was growing up meant I would get really tired. I struggled to keep up with school. Doctors told me that I needed to have a kidney transplant.
I was one of the first children to enter the Kidney Exchange program and at 9 years of age I received a kidney transplant. It’s made such a difference to my life, I feel so lucky. In fact, that’s what I call my kidney, ‘Lucky’. I have to drink a lot of water because of the medications that I take but I’m now able to lead a full and active life.
I can’t wait for the Australian Transplant Games this year. I like running in races; I’m fiercely competitive and like to win medals. Plus, it’s great meeting other kids who’ve gone through similar experience. These Games I’m going to be competing in long jump, high jump, sprints, ten pin bowling, tennis, the Fun Run, soccer and the basketball clinic. It’ll be a big eight days of sport so I’m brushing up now on my ten pin bowling and doing runs to get my fitness up.
Our Gifted Ambassadors
Before his kidney transplant, Andrew Vien couldn’t go out with his friends, even though he would have loved to. Needing dialysis meant he couldn’t do his own thing. Now Andrew is a budding graphic artist and film-maker. His talent is flourishing, and he’s pursuing his dreams – all thanks to his donor. The Australian Transplant Games in Western Sydney will be Andrew’s first.
Paul Hudson’s donor was his sister and best friend, Alison. They were close before she gave him a kidney; now, they’re even closer. The siblings are both active and enjoy cycling together. Transplantation has given Paul his health; his career; his son – his life. Paul’s won gold in the Australian Transplant Games before. He’ll be taking part in the cycling and athletics in Western Sydney this September.
When Olivia Steele was a baby, doctors told her family that she needed a new liver by her first birthday if she was going to survive. She received a transplant at Westmead Children’s Hospital, and is now a fit, strong girl who loves to dance. The Transplant Games in Western Sydney will be Olivia’s fourth