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Tony grateful for second chance

Tony grateful for second chance

Every breath Tony Kuchel takes, he’s grateful to the person who decided to donate their organs when they died.

Tony, of Dorrien, underwent a double lung transplant in September last year at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney.

He and wife Anne, became residents of the township, waiting five weeks, after an assessment, for the phone call to come that would change his life.

Tony was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, more commonly known as farmer’s lung, in 2010 and was able to manage the illness  in the first six years with medication and attending respiratory centres.

But for Tony, within 18 months it “turned bad real quick” and he was at the stage of not having long to live.

“I was at the stage where I didn’t have long to live and was told… it’s your choice, I said, sign me up,” said Tony.

“There’s a lot of risks involved with it.

“It was very exciting for us when they rang and said, we have got a set of lungs for you.”

Tony said it was too risky for he and Anne to return to the Barossa after the asssessment and waited for the phone call to come through while they lived in Sydney.

“Some people get one the next day… some wait for years,” said Tony.

“My lungs were shrinking daily. If they didn’t do the operation, then I wouldn’t last to Christmas.”

While post transplant he has experienced other health problems, he says it was still worth it.

“The lungs are good but the rest of the friends are not that friendly,” said Tony.

“You get rid of one problem and you get more, but it is still worth it.”

Tony’s quite honest when it comes to the second chance he has been given. He’s grateful to be able to spend more time with his family and watch it grow as the grandchildren add to the Kuchel family.

It was Toluca, who was born in November while Tony and Anne were still in Sydney,  who is among the reason they both wanted to come home.

“I was in recovery when she was born,” said Tony.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.