Transplant serves up new beginning for Doug, Australia
In 2011, the kidney transplant recipient intends to embrace his new life, living for some time overseas, tackling the Milford Track in New Zealand and competing in the Transplant Games in Sweden in June.
And while Doug tackles these adventures in 2011, he is hoping that many people adopt the resolution to discover, decide and discuss the intention to list themselves as an organ donor this year.
"Look, I know it's a touchy subject, but I can vouch for the difference it (a transplant) makes to your life. It's unbelievable. I now have the capacity to become a valuable member of society," he said.
Doug said the choice was always difficult for the donor family.
"Nobody could make a decision like this lightly, but those who do can take great solace that the loss of their loved one can help up to seven people with life threatening diseases."
Doug said the biggest issue with organ donors was that, even though they may be registered with Medicare, no discussion had been held with their family.
"When the time comes, it is too emotional to tackle these issues unless the wishes have been made clear.
Doug said his own transplant, on February 18, 2010, had been nothing less than "a miracle".
Before this, Doug's life for the past four years had been restricted to a dialysis routine of four times a week, spanning 28 hours. He said care of the machine meant about 40 hours a week was tied up with dialysis.
Doug suffers from polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition shared by his mother, sister and now his daughter. He said that since the transplant his kidney "hadn't missed a beat" and function was in the normal range.
"I was phoned at 10pm and told they had a match. I had the transplant the next day. I've got a new lease of life.
"I'd get myself a new girlfriend but they're too expensive - and my wife wouldn't like it. I also ride a motorbike - but I drive it like a grandfather," he joked.
"What this does is make you look at your priorities and that is to live life and to have fun. Insults don't worry me and there's no point getting stewed up about things.
"Life is too short really. I know this is a clich?, but it's true. I guess my outlook on life is still forming."
Doug said competition in the Transplant Games would provide a chance to mingle with people who have "been there". The games are also a chance to make people aware of the transplant issue.
Doug will play in the tennis doubles (over 50) with fellow kidney recipient Brian Grundy, of Mackay, who he met in hospital.
"He was my bench mark. He had the transplant three days ahead of me. He would tell me to 'man up'. I guess that might be a bit of a slogan on the court," Doug said.
Doug is a long term member of the Redland Lawn Tennis Association, playing social tennis fixtures on Monday nights.
For donor information, see www.donatelife.com.au