A sister's selfless decision to sacrifice a kidney for her brother, who was spending days at Wagga Base Hospital on dialysis, was "life-changing".
There are currently 1800 Australians on the transplant waitlist and an additional 12,000 people on dialysis for kidney failure.
Riverina farmer Craig Burkinshaw was one of those 12,000 people and had to spend three days a week at Wagga Base Hospital hooked up to a machine, but then a "miracle happened".
His younger sister Leonie said she would donate one of her kidneys.
The 56-year-old was diagnosed more than 30 years ago with the condition that meant his kidneys could shrink.
But, it was not until 2018 when he started to get sick and it hit him fast.
"My kidney function started to get down below 15 per cent, and then I got even worse," Mr Burkinshaw said.
"I had to have dialysis three days a week, which went for five or six hours.
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You walk in, sit in a chair, then I had a few needles in to filter the blood for five hours, and dialysis is good because it keeps you alive, but the toxins that run through your body makes you feel horrible."
Mr Burkinshaw said he was lucky because he lived only 50 kilometres out of the city, adding it would be even more challenging for those who live in more remote areas.
He said the staff at Wagga Base Hospital were incredible, and he was grateful to them for making his time on dialysis as easy as possible.
"I was getting crook, and my whole family knew what was happening," Mr Burkinshaw said.
"Then my sister said she would donate a kidney.
"I want people to know that doctors won't do anything if the donor is not 100 per cent health and comfortable with it."
Then in April 2019, Mr Burkinshaw and his sister went in for the transplant operation and ever since, he has felt like a "new man".
"It's a miracle," he said. "I would still be on dialysis without her because it takes two to three years to get a kidney. God bless her forever. I don't feel like an old man anymore."
Mr Burkinshaw said words could never do justice to what his sister's noble act meant to him.
He urged everyone eligible to sign up to DonateLife.
When asked why she decided to sacrifice a kidney for her sibling, Leonie Burkinshaw quoted the song Hey Brother, saying, "there's nothing in this world I wouldn't do".
Ms Burkinshaw said she knew her brother was deteriorating and wanted to step up for him.
It's been more than two years since she went under the knife, and she has just one message right now - sign up.
"I have never had any issues regarding the donation," Ms Burkinshaw said.
"I spent three days in the hospital, and for me, it didn't change my life. But for Craig, it has allowed him to live his life out of hospitals.
"I was 52 when I did it, and I have no regrets."
There are 13 million Australians eligible to register as organ and tissue donors but are yet to sign up. The Great Registration Race for DonateLife Week is encouraging 100,000 more Australians to sign up.
Roylene Stanley has been a volunteer for DonateLife for several years, but it's never for the reason people assume.
"I think so many people assume that I have had a transplant or I had a family member who needed one," she said.
"But that's not the case. I am a nurse with the intensive care unit, and I see people come through who are on dialysis or in organ failure who will need a transplant.
"I saw there was a need to have someone working on this issue."
In 2020, 1080 people in the Riverina made the selfless decision that could one day save lives by registering as organ donors. But, Ms Stanley wants to see that number rise.
The Wagga Base Hospital nurse has managed to encourage 20 Wagga-based cafes on board the DonateLife Week coffee cup campaign.
"We have QR code stickers on coffee cups this week that take people to the website," she said.
"NSW has about 100 businesses on board, so Wagga has done really well. By the time your barista has made your coffee, you can sign up."
Anyone aged 16 and over can register at donatelife.gov.au/register.
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