TEN months ago Greg Stevens said goodbye to his wife of 37 years and his four children, then he closed his eyes and hoped.
He had put himself in the hands of a team of medical professionals and had rested his future in the hands of a person he now calls his hero.
Mr Stevens had a degenerative liver disease. It not only threatened his life but impacted his family, and on May 1 last year he received a liver transplant.
“I think about them [the donor family] every day, how lucky I am and what an amazing amount of kindness,” he said.
“You think of the family and the sadness [when] they made that decision to donate.”
Mr Stevens said laws did not allow him to know who it was that saved his life, but in Donate Life Week 2013 he wanted to say thank-you anyway.
It was at exactly 1pm on May 1, 2012 when he received the call he had been waiting for.
“They said how quickly can you get to Sydney?” Mr Stevens said.
“I was lost for words, I was on the list for seven months.”
The drive he and wife Robyn made to Sydney that day was the longest he could remember.
“We just sat in silence,” he said.
Mr Stevens then underwent a marathon nine-hour operation at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney that he said gave him his life back.
“[I was] extremely fatigued, jaundiced, I couldn’t lead a normal life [before the operation],” he said.
During his recovery Mr Stevens said he chose to write a letter that was passed on to the donor’s family.
He told them how this huge act of generosity had changed his life, and that of his wife and their four children Evan, Elizabeth, Edwina and Greer.
“It’s fantastic, it transforms your life and the life of everyone around you,” he said.
Despite his transplant, Mr Stevens said people should not become a donor unless they were sure.
“If you wish to be a donor, discuss it with your family and not just register,” he said.
“Know the facts ... if you decide to you’ll make other people very grateful.”
To find out more information or to register to donate call 1800 777 203.
Registrations can also be made via the Australian Organ Donor Register at any Medicare officer or online at www.donatelife.gov.au.