When Rodney Marshdale was first diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at three years of age – his parents were told he had as little as seven years to live.
Now, more than 40 years on, the former Yanco resident wants to instill some hope to those who are suffering from the same disease.
“If you google the life expectancy it’s not great but I know people my age and older who are doing well,” Mr Marshdale said.
“You just have to find a way through it, but I’d like to think younger people now have a better starting position.
“If I read my story back then I think it would’ve encouraged me to kick on.”
Cystic fibrosis soon delivered Mr Marshdale another blow – he was told he wouldn’t be able to have children.
“I was in hospital at age 13 and watched everyone dying from it in their teens,” Mr Marshdale said.
“It was a pretty surreal feeling.”
Treatments saw a miracle breakthrough and he went on to watch his two sons, now aged 19 and 17, grow up.
“It was almost a world first for someone with cystic fibrosis, I am pretty proud to have watched them grow,” Mr Marshdale said.
Mr Marshdale describes the day-to-day symptoms of cystic fibrosis as having a bad cold, but serious setbacks have forced him to fight for his life on multiple occasions.
In 2013, Mr Marshdale was once again told he wouldn’t make it, saying his goodbyes to his family.
Yet again he defied the odds, going on to receive a double lung transplant in 2015.
“My advice to those with cystic fibrosis would be to live in the country for the air quality,” Mr Marshdale said.
“Exercise from a young age, building it as your lifestyle, eat well and watch your nutrition.”
A story of the ultimate survival, Mr Marshdale took up swimming to stay healthy and is now headed to the World Transplant Games in Spain to compete for Australia.
A former classmate has started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to get Mr Marshdale to the games.
“It’s all a bit overwhelming and I feel pretty humbled,” Mr Marshdale said.