By Natalie Gallenti
DAVID Blake was given a second chance at life and has spent the last 15 years making the most of it.
So determined was the Sunshine resident to honour the gift of life he was given, that he threw himself into sport and is competing in this year’s Australian Transplant Games in Canberra.
At only 35, Mr Blake needed a liver transplant. He was so weak that even daily tasks had become difficult.
“I couldn’t walk to the corner, couldn’t work and couldn’t have fun with my children,” he said.
“I couldn’t do boys’ stuff.”
After six months on the waiting list the father received the gift of life from a total stranger. However, the nine-hour major surgery was not the end of his woes. Within a month he had heart surgery and his spleen was ruptured. But after 13 weeks in hospital he came out a revitalised man.
The proud father-of-five said without the life-saving procedure he wouldn’t have seen the birth of his 10 beloved grandchildren.
And it will be those precious family members who will be cheering him on as he competes at the games in lawn bowls, ten-pin bowling and darts.
“Competing means the world to me. My family think it’s just great. My grandchildren tell all their teachers and friends that I competed in the Olympics, which I think is funny.”
He said the most exciting part was meeting other people who would have similar stories to him and to share their experiences.
So determined was he to compete at the games he trained every day with his portable oxygen tank.
The Australian Transplant Games are held every two years and celebrate the success of transplantation and encourage Australian families to discuss organ and tissue donation. Open to transplant recipients, donor families, living donors, people on dialysis or awaiting a transplant and supporters, the games help promote awareness of organ donation within the community.
Anyone interested in organ donation should visit www.donatelife.gov.au
By Natalie Gallenti