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Tuesday 27 July 2021
When Bendigo resident Richard Betteridge was told he’d need a liver transplant, he felt like his whole life collapsed.
“I didn’t drink or take drugs, I didn’t have hepatitis or diabetes, what had gone wrong with my body?” he says.
“It was a scary time.”
Richard had been unwell for four years and knew there was something seriously wrong, but no one could tell him what it was.
It wasn’t until he went to Austin Health’s Liver Clinic and was given a diagnosis of end stage non-alcoholic cirrhosis that he felt some relief and was placed on the liver transplant list, however, his quality of life had evaporated.
“I was nauseous, confused and shaking all the time,” he says.
“Life consisted of constant swelling, pain, trips to the hospital for ascitic drains and variceal banding.
“I tried to live a life but eventually I would sleep in my chair all day.”
Richard wasn’t on the list for long before he received the call which changed – and saved – his life.
It was three hours before Victoria went into stage three restrictions for six weeks in July last year.
“Due to the lateness at night and lockdown looming, the trip was achieved in record time and there was chatter, music and prayers all the way,” Richard says.
As soon as he walked into hospital everything went smoothly.
He was in surgery for six and a half hours and the initial recovery in the liver ward was difficult because of COVID-19 restrictions.
His recovery at home, however, was better than he expected.
“I seemed to improve in leaps and bounds and today my liver is working beautifully,” he says.
Richard celebrated his ‘liver-versary’ a couple of weeks ago and has a new lease on life.
“I have a new spark and energy and a desire to give back to the community,” he says.
His message for anyone thinking about becoming an organ donor is simple – just do it.
“There are literally thousands of people from babies to seniors all over this country who will die whilst waiting for an organ,” he says.
“At the time of your death, you have the means to save them, you can literally give a person a new life.
“Decide to be a donor, discover the facts, and discuss your decision with your family.
“I can never thank my donor and their family enough for giving me a second chance at life.”
For more information about becoming an organ donor, visit DonateLife.