Eleven years ago, Bendigo's Steve Hollingsworth says he was given a "second innings" in life.
The then-39-year-old was suffering renal failure, having had diabetes for most of his life.
He had been on the transplant waiting list for five years when he received a life-changing phone call in the middle of the night in 2009, informing him a suitable match had been found.
He travelled to Melbourne that very same night to undergo a kidney-pancreas transplant.
The organs came from a deceased donor, who Mr Hollingsworth understood was a man the same age as him.
"I really thank their family immensely for their kind generosity and donation, and also the person who donated it," he said.
Before his transplant, Mr Hollingsworth had to have five injections a day.
He started to really deteriorate in the two or three years before the operation, he said, vomiting every day.
"The more that your kidneys are failing, the more that the acid and stuff runs through your body. So I was really struggling in that regard," he said.
Mr Hollingsworth's illness also brought fatigue and weight fluctuations.
When he received his new organs, Mr Hollingsworth underwent a long surgery and spent another four weeks in hospital in Melbourne, while his condition was carefully monitored.
"I felt like a dartboard actually, with all the needles, but the caring nurses, staff, doctors, they were brilliant," he said.
Mr Hollingsworth said his transplant was just about the best match possible, and receiving it was "like winning Tattslotto".
He is still around for his wife Emma, and has seen their 14-year-old son Sam, who was only very young when Mr Hollingsworth underwent his life-giving surgery, grow up.
"It's been great for me to see him grow from nappies to obviously where he is today... and to be able to be part of his life is rewarding," Mr Hollingsworth said of his son.
"To still be here, courtesy of a donor, is rewarding."
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An avid cricketer, he has more energy and has been able to continue on with his local team - Maiden Gully Marist, where he has been playing since he was a young man - as well as the Lucky Stars Transplant Cricket team, which takes him interstate.
He has even represented Australia in the sport, playing in England as part of a national transplant cricket team.
Being a part of the Lucky Stars team means being part of a community of people who have experienced a transplant.
Mr Hollingsworth said families would visit Bendigo, or he would take his family to NSW or Queensland when going to play cricket.
"We find that really refreshing for a lot of us... to get away sometimes, out of normal life, just get together, have a weekend together," he said.
Members of the community caught up regularly, he said, and went to each other's birthdays, weddings and the like.
Each year, the Maiden Gully Marist Cricket Club - which has another transplant recipient, Tim Chisholm, as a member - hosts a community game which aims to encourage people to register as an organ and tissue donor.
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When not working or playing cricket, Mr Hollingsworth said he liked to spend time with his family, host barbecues, and go fishing.
"I also run trivia nights for schools and charities around Bendigo to help them raise money, full well knowing what it's like when we try to raise money," he said.
Mr Hollingsworth said he wanted the families of donors to know that those who received their organs respected and appreciated the sacrifice they had made, and their contribution to their lives, enormously.
Each birthday, Mr Hollingsworth has a minute's silence for the person who gave him his second chance at life, and the same sign of respect is held at the transplant cricket games.
Families are also invited to attend the cricket matches.
"We do appreciate them, we respect them, and we wouldn't be here without them, to be honest," Mr Hollingsworth said.
Maiden Gully Marist Cricket Club president Neil Byers is one person who has signed up to become an organ donor.
Mr Byers said knowing people like Mr Hollingsworth and Mr Chisholm, and meeting the families of donors at a transplant game, motivated him to register.
"They've had a hard time and I thought, 'Well I've had a pretty good life'... I've got kids, I've got grandkids, I've achieved most things in my life, so if I can give something back when I'm not here and help someone live a bit longer, well that's all OK," he said.
Currently, around 1700 Australians are on a waiting list for a transplant, and another 12,000 are on dialysis and would benefit from a kidney transplant.
Most people say they are willing to donate their organs and/or tissue when they die, but only one-third of Australians are registered donors.
The final decision to donate from a deceased person lies with that person's family, but 90 per cent of families consent when their loved one is a registered donor.
This week has been DonateLife Week, an event that aims to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation and encourage more Australians to register as a donor. To sign up or find out more, visit the DonateLife website.
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