Since 1971, October has been a special month for kidney transplant recipient, Twanny Farrugia. It marks the event that changed his life completely – receiving the greatest gift from an organ donor and their family.
This year, October is extra-special as Twanny celebrates his milestone 50-year kidney transplant anniversary.
Diagnosed with the condition Glomerulonephritis as an infant, Twanny battled serious illness throughout his childhood and teenage years. At 15, the condition caused Twanny’s kidneys to fail. By 17, he was on haemodialysis three times a week, eight hours a day, at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne.
Two weeks after his 18th birthday however, Twanny’s life unexpectedly changed overnight, thanks to an organ donor and their family.
Twanny’s immense gratitude for their selfless gift is as profound now, as it was then.
“This lovely family, while grieving for their loved one, altruistically thought of other people,” says Twanny.
“They donated their loved one’s kidneys. That’s a big thing during a time when there was no awareness about organ donation,” he says.
Twanny says this life-saving gift gave him renewed health and abilities, career opportunities, and happiness in spades.
It has been important to Twanny to honour his donor and make the most of every day.
For many years, Twanny enjoyed a career that enabled him to travel the world. He would go on to study at university, change his career, and pursue ballroom dancing for 30 years.
Now, he enjoys retired life with his guide dog and “wonderful friend”, Annabelle.
Today, Twanny’s transplanted kidney is estimated to be around 90 years old.