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Phillip's Story

Meet Phillip Coleman – author, musician, traveller and transplant recipient.  Phillip’s story is one of incredible resilience.  

Phillp first experienced symptoms of chronic kidney disease in 1978 when he was 17.  He returned from a school excursion and had a significantly swollen ankle, that his GP dismissed as a sprain.  However, 6 months later, Phillip’s health deteriorated and after a series of medical tests Phillip was diagnosed with Reflux Nephropathy. There was no family history of the condition.

He was admitted to hospital to begin dialysis treatment and would stay there for the next 3 months.   

Phillip received dialysis treatment from the ages of 17 to 34, with 4 transplants during this time, which all sadly failed. This did not stop Phillip, who pursued his passion for music, playing guitar and singing in pubs 2-3 nights a week, along with working in different roles in the public service, all the while fitting in his dialysis treatments. 

Life took another turn for Phillip, when he lost his ability to walk after his fourth transplant. When the kidney was removed the femoral nerve was severed; his doctors said he would never walk again. However, two years later, Phillip proved them wrong and was more determined than ever to live the best life possible.

Phillip vowed he would not have another kidney transplant, and he removed his name from the Transplant list. Seven years later, unbeknownst to him, Phillip's sister researched the possibility of donating her kidney to Phillip. Twelve months later, Phillip was surprised with the donation offer, but he was still reluctant. After consulting with his specialists, he decided to go ahead with the fifth transplant surgery on the 2nd of February 1994. This year, he celebrated his 30th kidneyversary! 

Since his transplant, life pivoted again, with Phillip pursuing career opportunities in the UK along with further education in IT. He also found time to write about a book about his dialysis and transplant experiences, and how “he found a balance living with a chronic condition, the problems associated with the condition and making the most out of life.” His book is aptly titled ‘The Gift’. The book is currently in the midst of being re-published – stay tuned for more details! 

Phillip has generously decided to leave a gift in his Will to Kidney Health Australia, “I hope that my contribution will help people with CKD find a balance in their lives so that they can deal with dialysis and still enjoy their lives.” 

If you’re thinking of taking this generous step of leaving a gift in your Will to Kidney Health Australia, please be in touch with our Bequest Team.

You can learn more about Phillip’s music and book ‘The Gift’ here: