Twanny, born in Malta, was constantly ill from a very young age. His childhood and adolescent years were characterised by frequent hospitalisation.
It ruined many family get togethers and holidays, he says, with a wry smile.
Twanny was anaemic and couldn't keep food down. He suffered from cramps and pains in his bones and he always felt cold.
Even on hot days, I'd wear two or more jumpers. Worst of all, I had no energy to keep up with my siblings and friends. Despite it all, Swanny still says he had a happy childhood, thanks to his family.
Trip to Australia
Twanny arrived in Australia in 1965.
That proved to be life saving for me, because at that time in Malta, they didn't start dialysis till 1972. By then, I'd already had my transplant. In Malta, if someone was sick, they'd have to send them overseas and I don't think my family could have afforded that.
Twanny was the diagnosed with renal failure in 1968. The doctors put him on a special diet and he was also hooked up to a hemo dialysis machine.
Then, in October 1971, Twanny had a kidney transplant.
Since then, I have good days and bad. Life is a trade off to me. I have side effects from my anti-rejection medication, but I'm still alive and have a very good quality of life.
Over the years, Twanny has had a few other health issues.
I became legally blind and had open heart surgery. My left hip was replaced 5 times and my right knee was replaced last year. Now I'm waiting for my left knee, left hip and right hip to be replaced.
Twanny's active lifestyle
Twanny has always been gainfully employed. For a while, he ran his own private practice as a loss and grief counsellor/educator in the allied health industry.
I feel that all these health issues have given me insight he says.
Through meeting many 'real' people, I've realised that we all have problems. It's not the problems, but how we manage them that matters.
For the past 30 years, Twanny has participated in ball room dancing, with some years as a competitor. He also enjoys Tenpin bowling, lawn bowls, reading, listening to music, cycling, and being with friends.
Hit by a car
Four years ago, Twanny was hit by a car. This accident prompted him to apply for a guide dog, as his vision was very poor.
If it wasn't for the medical profession and blue tack, I'd fall apart in front of you, he says with a chuckle.
I'm the original $6 man!
Twanny still enjoys and participates in every day life.
Health issues haven't stopped me, he says.
I've even considered sky diving, but my guide dog, Val, is against the idea as she'd have to go out of the aeroplane first!
Volunteering for Donate Life Victoria
Twanny decided in 2010 that he'd had enough of work and subsequently retired. However, he far from slowed down.
I'm enjoying life so much that I should have retired at age 6!
After retiring, Twanny became a volunteer public speaker for Donate Life Victoria. This organisation informs and educates the public about organ and tissue donation.
I do free presentations to service clubs, charity groups, sporting groups or any organisation that requires public speakers, says Twanny.
I'd like to stress this point, if you're considering becoming an organ donor, please make sure you've let your family know of your decision.
Often people tell me I'm a positive person, and I agree because I always think the glass is half full, not empty. This is because of my faith in God, my family, my close friends, and the wonderful medical profession in this country that fought to keep me healthy and well. That is why I believe I am a very fortunate man.
Find out more about to donate organs using the following information resources:
If you'd like a free guest speaker, you can contact Twanny on 0412 107 734.
If you'd like to find out more about organ donation, you can contact Kidney Health on 03 9674 4300, or go to http://www.kidney.org.au/.
Alternatively, you can call Donate Life Victoria on 8317 7400, or go to http://www.donatelife.gov.au/.
By supporting organ donation, you'd be helping inspirational people like Twanny to live rich and fulfilling lives.