Transplant gives man new life
PETER Prichard couldn't get out of bed 15 years ago and thought he would be dead within a year, but he is now a multiple lawn bowls gold medallist at the World Transplant Games and healthy as ever.
The Kingscliff man received a liver transplant back in 1997 at a stage where he was bed ridden, had lost more than 30 kg and had no doubt he was on death's door.
The ultimate gift, from an anonymous organ donor, gave Mr Pritchard a second chance at life and he has embraced it.
At age 71, he is preparing for his sixth Australian Transplant Games and plays bowls at the Cudgen Leagues Bowls Club three times a week.
“I am very grateful and happy. I wouldn't have lasted another year, I don't think. I would have been gone. The transplant definitely saved my life.”
He will travel to Canberra for the 2010 Australian Transplant Games, which starts on October 2.
Mr Prichard has tasted plenty of success since he began competing at national and international transplant games, including world games lawn bowls gold in Japan (2001), France (2002) and Canada (2007).
Mr Prichard ran a farm at Cudgen until 1987, and after the operation was able work again as a delivery driver.
With Australian organ donation rates among the lowest in the western world, Mr Prichard is keen to show people how the practice can benefit others.
“That is what the transplant games are all about; donor awareness and getting more people to sign up to be donors.”
Chris Thomas, CEO of Transplant Australia said the games demonstrated world-wide the “living proof” transplantation saves lives.
“What's more it allows them a quality of life they might not have experi- enced for years. They can start a family, play sport, and get back into the workforce.”
Visit www.donatelife.gov.au for information about being an organ donor.