Cricketer enjoying third chance at life


A DUAL organ recipient from Caloundra says he's been given not one, not two, but three chances at life.

Matty Hempstalk received his first donor kidney from his mother when he was just 14 years old and looked set for a long and prosperous life.

But only 10 years after his mother gave him a second chance at life, the kidney failed and it was back to Nambour Hospital for four-and-a-half years of dialysis.

That was until one family's tragedy became his saving grace, and he again underwent the knife and received another kidney.

Grateful doesn't sum up how Matty feels about his "third chance" at life and he now dedicates his spare time to spreading awareness about organ and tissue donation.


He has linked with Lucky Stars Cricket, which today is locked in a T20 clash with the James Ackerman XI at Caloundra.

"Each of us out there is honouring our own donors that we've never met and which gave us new life," Hempstalk said.

The game is being held in memoriam of fallen Sunshine Coast Falcons forward James Ackerman.

The father of two was a registered organ donor and his organs and tissues helped save or improve the lives of as many as 12 people after his tragic death.

Hempstalk now joins Ackerman's mother Sonya at school talks across the Sunshine Coast to spread awareness.

What may come as a surprise to people is the rules surrounding organ donation don't allow recipients to freely contact the families of organ and tissue donors.

"Obviously with social medai there's ways people have been able to track them down but the rule is when you write them a (thank you) letter you can't mention your name or location," he said.

"Some people want to know more but some had such a hard decision at the time that they don't want to be reminded of it every time a letter arrives in the mail.

"Unfortunately, I never got to meet my donor, but I live my life to honour the mystery person."

Half of the funds raised will go to Ackerman's children Oliver and Milly, with the other half to be donated to the family of fallen New South Wales rugby league player, Grant Cook.

More to come.

Topics:  cricket news donate life james ackerman organ donation

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