Dad ‘weeks away’ from death, didn’t know he was sick
MARYBOROUGH'S Matt Phillips had no idea he was dying.
The 36-year-old started feeling a bit unwell last year but didn't think it was anything serious.
"I just had a little bit of trouble breathing and slight pain," he said.
A trip to the doctor would reveal he was weeks away from death.
Matt was in the final stages of cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart that makes it harder for blood to be pumped around the body.
He was in urgent need of a heart transplant.
"The six months beforehand things started going downhill but only so slightly that I didn't really realise," he said.
Living an active life with his sons, Blake and Jack, and wife Claire, Matt also had a job that kept him busy, working as a fitter and turner at Maryborough's Downer rail factory.
"Being a young bloke you just sort of pass it off, never go to the doctor."
The urgency of his situation was made clear by the doctors who saved his life.
A week after being put on the transplant list, Matt won the organ donation lottery - a heart, that was a match had become available and the subsequent transplant likely extended his life for decades.
Doctors believe that without it, Matt wouldn't have lived another week.
Matt knows his good fortune came at the expense of another family, who will mourn the loss of their loved one for the rest of their lives.
He thinks about the person who gave him his heart every day.
"I'd love to meet the family one day too," he said.
"That's up to them whether they want to make contact."
Claire said it was a beautiful thing not only for the donor to have made their desire to donate their organs known, but also for the family who honoured their loved one's wishes.
Matt said the organ donor lived on not just in him, but in several other people.
"My donor was a really healthy person apparently and donated all his organs," he said.
"Not just me (sic) benefited from it."
Now fit, healthy and back at work, Matt said he is feeling better than ever.
Matt is encouraging people to sign up to the organ donation registry as DonateLife Week approaches.
DonateLife Week begins on July 26, reminding people of the importance of registering their intention to donate their organs.