Steve Rowell

After having Cardiomyopathy for about 8 years, I finally decided to go on the Transplant Waiting List. On 12 August 2008 I went to the Clinic at The Alfred hospital and signed the papers. My wife and I then went to have a coffee and ponder what the future would be.

We left the hospital and about 5 minutes later my phone rang. It was the Clinic to ask us to come back as they had a donor heart. I stupidly thought "ok they are testing me to see how quickly I would respond", as it had only been 55 minutes since I signed the papers. The doctors tell me I am the quickest transplant they know of.

This was about to be the biggest journey of my life. I said good-bye to my wife and family and in I went. When I woke up I was shocked to find out that I had been in an induced coma and on life support for 15 days - and another 3 weeks of not realising what had happened.

As my wife tells me, if it could go wrong, it went wrong. My body shut down and my new heart took a long time to start working. I was in hospital for about 2 months, and then in rehab for another 2 months.

My family kept a photo diary for the whole time I was out of it. It makes interesting reading. Even to see photos of my grand-daughter the night of her Debutante Ball standing beside my bed in intensive care in her Deb dress at 1.00 am so that when I woke up I knew I hadn't missed her special night (which was one week after my transplant).

I came home 4 months after it all began and had to come to terms with everything. I could not stop thinking about my donor and his family. The gift they have given me is something I treasure every day.

I now enjoy playing with my grand-children and enjoy a life I never thought I would have. I have a heart of someone in their 20's and a 61 year old body, so there is a bit of a tug-of-war some days when the body can't keep up, but it sure is a great life to have.