Woman with 2 kids

Dad’s gift makes dream come true

Angela Retchless lived with reduced kidney function from the age of nine. When she became so ill that her life was on the line, her father gave her the greatest gift of all – a new chance at life.

Kidney disease is called a ‘silent disease’ as there are often few or no symptoms. In fact, you can lose up to 90 per cent of your kidneys’ functionality before experiencing any symptoms.

Angela’s kidneys were slowly deteriorating until her dad Leon, stepped in to become her organ donor.

“Dad was absolutely incredible,” Angela said.

“He always said he would do it, so when we were told that it was a match, I knew instantly that life was about to change for the better.

“I’ll never forget the wave of emotion that came over me, seeing dad being wheeled into the operating theatre. It made me realise just how lucky I was.”

The kidney transplant helped Angela and her husband Luke realise their dream of becoming parents – something they never thought would be possible because of her kidney disease. 

“Just three years after the transplant, we found out we were pregnant with twins!” she said.

“It took a few days to sink in, but both Luke and I couldn’t have been happier.

“I remember thinking, ‘dad made this possible.’ I wouldn’t be a proud mum to two identical twin boys if it wasn’t for him.”

“I’ve never felt better. I’ve been given a second chance and I owe it all to my brave courageous dad.

“We can save and transform more lives if more Australians register to become donors.”

Angela, who works at the Department of Human Services in Brisbane, is using DonateLife Week to urge everyone who can to join the Australian Organ Donor register.

“You can literally save someone’s life and bring indescribable joy to their family. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that journey?” Angela said.

The Australian Organ Donor Register is the only national register for people to record their decision about becoming an organ and tissue donor for transplantation after death.

You can register to be an organ and tissue donor using your Medicare online account through myGov, the Express plus Medicare mobile app or at donatelife.gov.au. A minute of your time could one day save the lives of many.

More information

  • You can find more information about organ donation here.