Robin’s thankful Sydney’s part of his life
ROBIN Priebe celebrated his sixth birthday with his best mate Sydney by his side.
Mr Priebe is blessed with two birthdays - the anniversary of the day he was born and the extra date marked by the day he became a kidney transplant recipient.
He welcomed the organ he has christened "Sydney the kidney" six years ago.
Looking at the 74-year-old with a spring in his step and a positive outlook on life, it is hard to imagine his life relied on a dialysis treatment twice a week for several years after his kidneys failed.
One new organ completely changed Mr Priebe's life.
"Unfortunately I've never met the donor family but if they were willing to meeting a recipient, I'd be honoured," he said.
"It is easy to give something to someone you know, respect and genuinely like, but to make such a gift available for someone that you do not even know, is such a wonderful gift.
"It speaks volumes for the kind of society we have where perfect strangers will give something so precious to someone they don't even know, all through love."
Mr Priebe was among more than 100 people who gathered at Immanuel Lutheran Church yesterday for the fourth annual Remembrance Day for organ and tissue donor families and recipients. The day gives organ recipients and their families a chance to thank those who gave them the gift of life.
Mr Priebe described himself as the "luckiest man alive".
"My donation improved my life completely," he said.
"It gave me a sense of wellbeing which I hadn't felt for a very long time, an energy level I hadn't experienced for a long time and it gave me the pleasure of enjoying my surroundings more fully in that I could eat what I liked, drink what I liked and I could take greater pleasure in seeing the sunrise, the sunset and nature around me.
"You gain a greater appreciation of being alive and part of this great place.
"I feel so privileged; this really has changed my life.
"I'd love to see a law passed to make organ donation compulsory in Australia where it is available with an option to write a letter and opt out."
Mr Priebe's daughter Margaret said the difference in her father's health was monumental after the organ donation.
"Dad was just so brave; he's my hero," she said.
Last year 378 Queensland families - facing the worst days of their lives - chose to honour the wishes of their loved ones by donating their organs and tissues.
Become an organ donor
Online at www.humanservices.gov.au and search "organ donation"
Phone 1800 777 203