Brother-in-law changes man’s life through kidney donation

Ryan Davies received a kidney from his brother-in-law Kerry Martin. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Ryan Davies received a kidney from his brother-in-law Kerry Martin. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

RYAN Davies has been given another lease on life. 

It has been six weeks since Mr Davies and his brother-in-law Kerry Martin left the Royal Melbourne Hospital after the four-hour operation that gave Mr Davies a new kidney and left Mr Martin feeling lighter.

In 2009 Mr Davies was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, a rare disease that causes the immune system to attack the kidney. 

A transplant was necessary if he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life hooked up to a machine.

“It’s a nice relief, getting a kidney and being healthy and having heaps of energy to do stuff again,” Mr Davies said.

“It means everything, it means I can have a life again. 

“I can be as normal as possible and I don’t have to be hooked up to a machine that’s keeping me alive.”

The 31-year-old began dialysis on his 30th birthday in February last year and would spend up to 20 hours a week connected to the machine while holding a full-time job. 

“The hardest thing for me was, Julie (my wife) was like a single mum. If I wasn’t on a machine I’d be at work,” Mr Davies said. 

“I spent 15 months on dialysis so it’s a nice change.”

Mr Martin, who is married to Mr Davies’ sister Kate, said he was just happy Mr Davies was OK.

“Originally Ryan’s parents were going to donate, but both got knocked back for different reasons,” Mr Martin said.

“Going to see Ryan hooked up to a machine was pretty tough to see. So I thought I’d put my hand up and get tested and see how I go.”

The doctors told the brothers-in-law it had been a textbook operation and that their kidney match was comparable to the genetics of brothers.

Mr Davies will take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life, but takes each day in his stride.

“More fishing, time with the family, now I don’t want to sit down on the couch anymore,” he said.

Ahead of Kidney Health week (May 25-31), Mr Davies said it was important to raise awareness for organ donation. 

“Basically, it saves lives. It gives people the chance to live again,” he said.

david.jeans@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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