Twanny Farrugia has been ill all his life. He has had open heart surgery, kidney failure, multiple hip and knee replacements and is blind, yet he has an infectious positive outlook on life and a wonderful sense of humour.
He was diagnosed with renal failure when he was just 15 years old.
His family migrated from Malta in 1965 and he received his kidney transplant 2 weeks after his 18th birthday in 1971.
Twanny said, “it was the best birthday present ever, to be given the beautiful gift of life”. The donor family were grieving for their loved one but, because of their kindness, they gave me a second chance”.
Twanny’s father died 32 years ago of a heart attack and he was an organ donor so the Farrugia family feel that they have “given back, full circle”.
In 2007, Twanny went in for surgery to have a stent procedure but suffered a heart attack and went on to have bypass surgery. He said “I am lucky as I was in the lab when I had the heart attack, so I guess it’s the best place to be if that happens”.
Twanny has been attending cardiac reviews at Melbourne Heart Care with Dr Emily Kotschet.
Throughout all of this Twanny remains positive and has a love of life. He spent 30 years doing ballroom dancing and, before he lost his eyesight, he was an avid caravaner. He walks regularly with his beloved guide dog, Val, and has even tried tandem bicycle riding, given his poor vision. Twanny says “I don’t often worry about the technical aspects of my life as I have a great medical team. I focus on the psychosocial aspect of wellbeing, my belief is if I am healthy in my mind, my body will follow through, that’s how I fight all my battles”.
Twanny is due to celebrate his 47th year with his transplant and he is now the second-longest kidney transplant recipient in Australia.
For more information on organ donations please click on the following link.