Kidney transplant recipient thankful for the gift of life

DONOR RECIPIENT: South Bundaberg resident Ron Spann has recently received a donor kidney and been granted a new lease on life. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
DONOR RECIPIENT: South Bundaberg resident Ron Spann has recently received a donor kidney and been granted a new lease on life. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

UNDERGOING renal treatment three times a week for up to six hours at a time, a Bundaberg man says the toll of treatment was all consuming and living a normal life had become a distant memory.

But after receiving a kidney transplant about two years ago, Ron Spann has a new lease on life and is urging others to talk openly about organ donation.

Tomorrow is DonateLife Thank You Day, a national day to acknowledge organ and tissue donors and families that agreed to donation, and Mr Spann said it was difficult to put into words how thankful he was to be an organ recipient.

"If we didn't have these precious organs people like me wouldn't be able to live and contribute to civil society," he said.

"When I was having treatment I didn't have a life. After the treatment at the hospital I would just go home and sleep.

"I can't say enough to say thank you. It's why I've tried to do as much as possible to better my life."

First diagnosed with kidney problems in 1995, Mr Spann was serving in the Royal Australian Navy as a marine engineer and was able to take medication for a number of years to address the issue.

"For 20 years the medication prolonged my naval career but at such time as the kidney function decreases I was able to prepare myself for dialysis and hopefully a donation from a donor," he said.

And Mr Spann still remembers the life-saving call

"When they found a match I got the phone call at 4am. My donation was on the 13th of December 2013 and without that donation I would be still on dialysis," he said.

"The prognosis was that in the end I would die of complications of renal failure. This is a wonderful gift that someone gave me."

As the vice-president of the Bundaberg Renal Support Group, Mr Spann now dedicates his second chance to helping others with similar experiences.

"I volunteer my time now to help in promoting and donating to kidney research and the renal unit up in Bundaberg Hospital."

Topics:  donor kidney transplant

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