NEW KIDNEY: Damon Merry with his two sisters, Isabeau and Alex during one of Damon's many hospital visits.
NEW KIDNEY: Damon Merry with his two sisters, Isabeau and Alex during one of Damon's many hospital visits. Natasha Burrows

Teenager gets new kidney but loses his dad

WONDAI teenager, Damon Merry was like any other 13-year-old country boy.

He loved to be active and was even crowned age champion at his school.

But Damon has been challenged by a degenerative kidney disease since he was three and sadly it has progressively worsened over the years.

Much to the relief and joy of the family, Damon received a perfectly matched kidney from an unknown donor on July 7 this year.

This week is DonateLife Week and Damon's mother, Natasha Burrows is very grateful for the ultimate generosity of a complete stranger.

"To the family, I am so sorry for your loss but we thank you so much," she said.

"If I thanked them every day it still wouldn't be enough.

"It is a hard thing to be happy when there is a family grieving for their loss."

It has been a difficult year for the family; along with Damon's condition they have also dealt with the death of the children's father, Steve who was tragically killed in a car accident in Monto on February 23.

"Steve was planning on donating one of his kidneys to Damon but sadly his kidney wasn't a match," Ms Burrows said.

Since Damon received the kidney they have had a few set backs.

The illness is rearing it's ugly head again in Damon's new kidney and the family is currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House across from Lady Cilento Hospital for up to six months.

"We lovingly call Damon's new kidney Kevin the Kidney and we are working with the PA Hospital to make sure Kevin the Kidney stays healthy," Ms Burrows said.

Damon has a few days' rest from hospital visits coming up and his mum said he is looking forward to just being a normal kid for a change.

"Damon is excited for the sleep in. He wants to head down to southbank and just have a walk and enjoy the fresh air," Ms Burrows said.

DonateLife Week, which goes from Sunday July 29 to Sunday August 5 raises awareness to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes thorughout Australia and Ms Burrows invites everyone to become a organ donor.

"It's really easy, I'm registered. If it means a second chance to someone else why wouldn't I do it?" she said.

More than 1400 Australians like Damon are on wait lists for a life-saving or life-transforming transplant.

If you are willing to one day save lives by becoming an organ and tissue donor, please register and discuss your decision with your family and friends.

Find out more at www.donatelife.gov.au.

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