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Author Topic: New kidney going strong 36 years later  (Read 1659 times)
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Photo is Jenna - after Disneyland - 1988

« on: October 23, 2007, 11:38:30 PM »

New kidney going strong 36 years later

Jen Kelly
Article from: Herald Sun

October 23, 2007 12:00am

SPRINGVALE man Twanny Farrugia's donated kidney has kept him going a staggering 36 years - twice as long as the pair he was born with.

Mr Farrugia, 54, is one of Australia's longest-surviving transplant recipients still with the same kidney.

Transplant experts say that his survival story is remarkable given the median kidney transplant lifespan is 12 years.

Mr Farrugia was only the 18th person to receive a kidney transplant at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital, 36 years ago yesterday.

Mr Farrugia placed a notice in yesterday's Herald Sun classifieds, as he sometimes does on the transplant anniversary, saying: "I would like to thank my donor family for giving me a second chance in life."

And he said surviving 36 years on a donated kidney was better than hitting the jackpot.

"I jokingly tell my doctors I'm going to be the first 100-year-old kidney transplant patient -- that's my goal," he said.

Kidney Health Australia national medical director Timothy Mathew said Australia's longest-surviving single-transplant kidney recipient would celebrate 40 years on December 12 this year.

Dr Mathew said Mr Farrugia was ranked the 35th-longest survivor in Australia in 2005.

"It's a fantastic result and far exceeds our initial expectations," said Dr Mathew, who treated the first Victorian kidney recipient in 1965 and dozens more over the next 12 years.

"If anybody had told us that any of those people having transplants were going to be alive 35 and 40 years later we would have said, 'don't be silly'."

After a childhood troubled by lethargy and anaemia, Mr Farrugia was diagnosed with a kidney disease called glomerulonephritis at 15.

At 17, he started dialysis and was hooked up to a machine three days a week for six hours a time to clean his blood after his kidneys failed.

That went on for 10 months while doing his leaving certificate, until Mr Farrugia received a transplant 2 1/2 weeks after his 18th birthday.

Each transplant anniversary, Mr Farrugia reflects not only on his own good fortune, but also the generosity of the donor's family.

"I think it's a blessing every day. For us as a family, the 22nd of October is a happy day because I got the transplant," he said.

"But I keep in mind that there's a family out there somewhere that lost someone they love."

Mr Farrugia has been legally blind for 27 years, so he switched careers from Customs to grief counsellor.

"Even though I don't know who (the donor's family) are and they don't know me, I'd like to think that I haven't wasted this gift that I've been given," he said.

You can add your name to the organ donor register online with the Herald Sun or by phoning 1800 777 203


Admin for IHateDialysis 2008 - 2014, retired.
Jenna is our daughter, bad bladder damaged her kidneys.
Was on in-center hemodialysis 2003-2007.
Now needs a new kidney, 7 yr transplant lost due to rejection.
She started PD Sept. 2013
Searching for a living donor using social media, friends, family.
Her story ---> https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
Jenna is an artist, she loves music, is a fan of ComicCon, and has been writing stories since she was little.
Please watch her video: http://youtu.be/D9ZuVJ_s80Y
Living Donors Rock! http://www.livingdonorsonline.org -
News video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-7KvgQDWpU
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