Re­pay­ing the sup­port

Kid­ney re­cip­i­ent re­turns from world games with medal

Maroochy Weekly - - NEWS - Carly Cullen [email protected]­news.com.au

MATTY Hemp­stalk re­ceived an unimag­in­able gift when he was 14 – a kid­ney trans­plant from his mother.

Af­ter mov­ing from New Zealand to the Coast in 2002, the trans­plant be­gan to fail and he re­ceived a sec­ond do­na­tion. It has now been 13-and-a-half years since his last trans­plant.

Mr Hemp­stalk is a Sun­shine Coast Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice con­sumer rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

“I’ve al­ways been in­volved as an ad­vo­cate to make peo­ple aware of kid­ney dis­ease. I’ve been sick since the age of four and learned to be a self-man­ager of the dis­ease,” he said.

Be­ing in hospi­tal and see­ing how hard the staff have to work, I thought I could of­fer some­thing as a pa­tient. To talk about how the sys­tem af­fects some­one like me and how the pa­tient can help ease the work­load.”

Mr Hemp­stalk said he wanted to give back af­ter be­ing in­volved with hos­pi­tals his whole life.

“With­out the care, I wouldn’t be here to­day,” he said.

“Pa­tients also need to take con­trol of their own health, the sys­tem can only do so much and some re­spon­si­bil­ity needs to be taken on by pa­tients too.”

A con­stant in Mr Hemp­stalk’s life was sport.

“Sport was my saviour from a young age. It was the only time I felt like I wasn’t sick,” he said.

It comes as no sur­prise that Mr Hemp­stalk’s pas­sion for sport led him to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia. He has com­peted in the World Trans­plant Games five times and last year he re­turned from Spain with a medal.

“I teamed up with a friend and we pulled off bronze,” he said.

“For me, there is no bet­ter way to hon­our my donor, med­i­cal staff at the hospi­tal and pro­mote the im­por­tance of or­gan and tis­sue do­na­tion than train­ing.”

To learn about be­com­ing a con­sumer rep­re­sen­ta­tive, phone 5470 5822 or email SC-en­gage­[email protected]

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

GOALS: Matty Hemp­stalk (sec­ond from left) has trav­elled the world (inset) to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in the World Trans­plant Games.

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