HomeCommunityBevan lives full life thanks to kidney donor

Bevan lives full life thanks to kidney donor

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Bevan Findlay, kidney transplant recipient with Karen Jenner, Organ Donation Specialist Nurse.

Every day for the past 35 years Bundaberg local Bevan Findlay has said a silent thank you to the anonymous kidney donor whose life-giving gift has enabled him to live a full life.

At aged 18, Bevan was in New South Wales working as a fruit picker when he ended up in hospital with heatstroke and received the life changing diagnosis that his kidneys were not working as they should.

Bevan managed his condition until his early 30s with regular treatment, which required manual cleansing of his kidneys five times a day, seven days a week.

The constant treatment and regular doctor visits to Brisbane had an immediate impact of Bevan's life and family.

Bevan said he was very sick throughout that time but was determined to continue working and living life.

“I still did my sport, race carts and everything, just had a treatment bag,” Bevan said.

After starting dialysis and six months on the transplant list, Bevan received a donor kidney.

“The day after they got me out of bed, after my transplant, I felt a difference,” he said.

Bevan was advised by his doctors at the time that he could expect 15 years of health as a result of the kidney transplant, but 35 years later he is still going strong.

“A lot of my friends I spent time in hospital back then, for transplant, a lot of them are gone now,” Bevan said.

“I'm very fortunate.”

There are currently around 13,000 Australians undergoing regular dialysis for kidney failure, with 1,450 people on the transplant list waiting for a kidney.

Bevan said sharing his story with people and talking about organ donation was very important to him, with most of this family now registered organ donors because of what he has experienced.

He said that making the decision to donate could be very hard on family members, but that doing so was life changing to the recipient.

“I do think every day about the transplant, about the people that have lost someone, for me to have a life with my children and grandkids, great grandkids,” Bevan said.

“Without that, I wouldn't have my life.”

Bevan Findlay
Bevan Findlay with some of his family.

Donate a minute to give someone a lifetime

As part of DonateLife Week, Sunday 23 July to Sunday 30 July, all Australians are encouraged to donate one minute to register to be an organ and tissue donor.

Registering is quick and simple, and can be done either at donatelife.gov.au or within the Medicare app.

DonateLife organisers also urge people to tell family members about their wish to be a donor, as research shows families are much more likely to support organ donation if they knew their loved one wanted to be a donor.

80 per cent of Australians support organ and tissue donation, but fewer than half of this number are actually registered.

There are currently around 1,800 people on the organ waitlist around Australia.

More information on organ and tissue donation can be found at donatelife.gov.au.