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Stephen's Story

Stephen and Sally's inspiring story of a live kidney transplant

"I remember mum referencing my Pop’s transplant in 1977 but didn’t know much about it … and I do recall my mum talking about having kidney disease, but it wasn’t spoken about much as there just weren’t that many effects that she had and was living a normal life. I know there was a chance that my sister or I would have it, but it was just something we would eventually just have to have checked”

When Stephen was 21 he got a CT scan to see if he had signs of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and he distinctively remembers opening the envelope with his results, scanning the medical jargon and reading “consistent with PKD” at the bottom of the page. He was devastated but had no real idea what that would mean for him.

For most of his 20's Stephen was monitoring his condition with annual appointments to monitor his bloods and kidney function, but when he reached his mid-30's he got a feeling it was about to change. His first experience of kidney failure was when his body started to reject certain foods and drink. Then he began to experience regular intense fatigue which prompted his annual appointments to change to every 6 months, then quarterly, then monthly… By the time his kidney function had dropped to 15% he was feeling like death. By 13% he was feeling even worse and began to lose a lot of weight. In August of 2021 he had a dialysis fistula put into his arm in preparation for dialysis which he began in February 2022.

Stephen has two kids, Oscar and Harry, who he has been very open and honest about with his kidney disease journey. He used diagrams about kidneys and told them to ask as many questions as they had about what was happening with their dad, and for them to understand why he couldn’t play footy or cricket with them.

Three of Stephen’s family members have had a kidney transplant, so he knew this was always going to be a real possibility in his future. Luckily, his cousin Sally was a match and more than willing to give her cousin this incredible gift, so they began the long process of preparing for a kidney transplant.

One week before the transplant, in October 2022, Stephen and Sally filmed a conversation about what they were about to undergo. Click here to watch the video. Stephen is now post-transplant and is “feeling bloody good and equally grateful”.

Follow Stephen's journey post-transplant on his Instagram here.