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Nick Brady

Kidney recipient
Cooks Hill, NSW

After 18 months on the transplant waiting list, Nick received a lifesaving kidney transplant in 2019. “Life before my transplant was a mental and physical rollercoaster. My energy levels were up and down and I was getting sick and really dizzy a lot,” Nick recalls.

Now 5 years later, Nick is preparing to represent Australia at the 2024 Transplant Football World Cup. “No words can describe the feeling to be selected for Australia. I am honoured and proud to represent our Country, my family, friends, donor and the Transplant community. I’m still pinching myself.”

Nickolas De Bonis

Liver recipient
Samford Valley, QLD

Nick was less than a year old when he received a life-saving liver transplant in 2007. Now 18, Nick has been selected to represent Australia at the inaugural Transplant Football World Cup.

“For me, competing for Australia at the Transplant World Cup is massive. It is an honor to represent my country and compete for a trophy,” Nick says. “I hope that competing will bring awareness to organ donation and transplantation. I hope my journey can inspire people and show what life can be like post-transplant.”

Ante Kelic

Liver recipient
Bellbrae, VIC

When Ante was diagnosed with a chronic liver disease at 17, he thought his football dreams were over. Now, thanks to the gift of life, Ante is preparing to represent Australia at the 2024 Transplant Football World Cup.

Ante recived a second chance at life in 2015 when he recieved a liver transplant. He hopes that competing at the Transplant Football World Cup will make his donor proud and show the world the power of organ and tissue donation.

“I never thought I would need a transplant, and I don’t think anyone ever does. Each donor can save the life of 10 people. Please register as an organ donor and tell your family and friends about your wishes,” Ante says.

Nick King

Liver recipient
Bayswater, VIC

After years of battling liver disease, Nick received a liver transplant in 2016. “After my transplant, I felt like a new person almost immediately,” Nick says. “I still remember the feeling during football pre-season when we were doing a running session. I was running completely freely and felt like I could run forever. It felt euphoric.”

Nick was honored to be selected to compete at the Transplant Football World Cup in Italy this September. “I’m so proud and excited to be representing my country and honoring my donor and their family by making the most out of the second chance I have been given,” Nick says. “The team and I want to honor our donors and their families, as well as all the doctors and nurses who have gotten us to this place.”

Alex Liebmann

Kidney recipient
Mona Vale, NSW

 

Jake Maudsley

Kidney recipient
Lake Macquarie, NSW

Jake’s dad gave him the gift of life when he donated one of his kidneys in October 2020, and Jake has never looked back. “Doctors and other recipients had told me that I would feel a million bucks when I woke up from my transplant. I didn’t believe them because of how tired I felt before the transplant, but I actually wanted to run the halls cheering when I did wake up,” Jake recalls.

Joining the Transplant Australia Football Club has helped Jake find community and rediscover his passion for football. “Being part of TAFC is helping me to find my sense of identity and community again,” Jake says. “The opportunity to play again with a team that understands my physical limitations has helped me regain my love for playing sports.”

Nizam Mazlan

Kidney recipient
Wyndham Vale, VIC

After years of battling kidney disease, Nizam was given a second chance at life when he received a kidney transplant in 2021. “I had an amazing recovery; I was walking just one day post-transplant,” Nizam recalls.

A long-time football fan, Nizam was honored to be selected to compete for Australia at the inaugural Transplant Football World Cup. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I hope I can inspire the hundreds of Australians currently on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant.”

Favio Perez

Kidney recipient
Kellyville, NSW

In 2014, Favio was given a second chance at life when he received a kidney transplant. Favio and his wife took part in the paired kidney exchange program. This meant that Favio received his kidney transplant from a complete stranger, and in return, Favio’s wife gave someone else the gift of life by donating one of her kidneys.

Now, 10 years post-transplant, Favio has been selected to represent Australia at the Transplant Football World Cup. “This opportunity will be a dream come true for my family and me,” Favio says. “I want to prove that there are no barriers in life too big to achieve dreams and to be a great role model for my daughters.”

Brendan Ryland

Heart recipient
Bright, VIC

Brendan received a life-saving heart transplant in 2015. Since his transplant, Brendan has reached many major life milestones: living with his partner Natalie and adopting their dog Sundae, becoming a proud uncle to five nieces and nephews, and a godfather to a close friend’s firstborn, as well as representing Victoria at the 2016 Australian Transplant Games. Now, he’s getting ready to fulfill a childhood dream: representing Australia.

He has been selected for the Australian squad for the inaugural Transplant Football World Cup. “Being selected for this team is fulfilling a childhood dream, and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Matt Wills

Double lung recipient
Wollongong, NSW

Added: Matt was born with cystic fibrosis and lived with 25% lung capacity for many years. In 2019, Matt received a life-saving double lung transplant. His recovery was difficult, and Matt spent 10 days in an induced coma post-transplant.

A lifelong football fan, Matt was thrilled to find the Transplant Australia Football Club and was honored to be selected to represent Australia at the upcoming Transplant Football World Cup in Italy this September.

Liam Woods

Bone marrow recipient
Hunter Valley, NSW

Liam was a busy father of one, with another on the way, when he was diagnosed with leukemia. After three rounds of chemotherapy and the birth of his second daughter, Liam received a bone marrow transplant in 2015.

A football fan for as long as he could remember, when Liam learned about the Transplant Australia Football Club, he knew he wanted to be involved. “Football, being the World Game, brings people together. To be a part of the inaugural Transplant Football World Cup is a dream,” says Liam.

Matt Zoppos

Kidney recipient
Lyndhurst, VIC

Matt’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2013. “My life changed dramatically, I went from thinking that everything was normal to having a blood test and being in hospital the next day with kidney failure,” Matt recalls. He spent 9 months on dialysis before Matt’s uncle gave him the gift of life when he donated one of his kidneys.

A football fan all his life, Matt was honoured to be selected to represent Australia at the 2024 Transplant Football World Cup. “Being selected means the world to me. It gives me an opportunity to share an amazing experience with others who have been on a similar journey as mine,” Matt says. “I want to show the world that being a donor can change so many lives for the better, and give hope to people on the waiting list that life can be a fresh start after a transplant.”

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