Claude Turco

Bad Boy Story

Born: Melbourne, Victoria, HLTTV Vice President - 2009

Favourite colour: Red

Favourite country/place: Australia / Venus Bay, Vic

All People who inspired me the most: My wife, children, brothers, family and firends

The most memorable moment: Being told that someone (my donor) had given me a second chance at life

A funny moment: Being told I looked like the Ape Man (amazing what Drugs do)

What led to you needing a transplant?

It was 1.30 am on Tuesday 16 October, 2001. I was feeling a little off, took two panadol and then collapsed. I called my wife. Seeing the greyness in my face she called the ambulance. A Mica unit arrived within minutes.

I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about as I only felt a discomfort in my back. Arriving at the Austin Hospital I was met by a huge medical team and within minutes transferred to ICU. I let out my frustrations to doctors and was told that I had had a Major Heart Attack. My life flashed before my eyes.

I was 43 years old at the time, married almost 21 years with two beautiful daughters, kicking goals in my job and planned to slow down at 50. Suddenly I was now being told that I should retire and I wouldn't be able to have a transplant. In the next 4 1/2 years I went through many changes and after being told countless times what not to do and no, I couldn't have a transplant, and what had I done about retirement.

I decided to go for a second opinion and was referred to The Alfred. Within 10 days I had information overload. Over the coming months, many life threatening moments and many strenuous tests, I was advised that I had made the Transplant List (words I only dreamed of).

In the past 8 years most people I have met are patients that have had an illness, or picked up a bug. My Bad Boy story is a bit different. I smoked, drank, I was obese, did no exercise, ate junk food, had border line blood pressure and cholesterol and later advised of some history of heart disease. I was a Time Bomb in the making!!!

On the morning of 18 July 2007, I was driving to The Alfred to meet the dietician when suddenly I received a call from Kylie Jones advising me that there may be an organ available and to meet her in Emergency, and within a few hours I was lucky enough to be given the gift of a heart transplant. Since my transplant I have reflected on the past and come up with what is commonly known as my Bucket List which I am strenuously working through (slight hiccup at present) and dreams I had in ICU. I took my life fro granted. I thought I was invincible. How wrong I was. I've slowed down. I smell the roses. I'm grateful for every single day. I enjoy my family and friends.

Lastly I want to thank my Donor Family for the Gift, Doctors and nurses for the Magic and God for his Miracle. Best wishes to you all, and keep healthy.