Stuart in the heavyweight fight for life

Stuart in the heavyweight fight for life


Central Western Daily By NADINE MORTON

THE magic number for Stuart Clarke is 95. At 95 kilograms he will finally be put on the organ transplant list to receive a kidney that will save his life.


The battle to receive a kidney has been a long one for Mr Clarke since he was first diagnosed with kidney disease in 1998.

Stuart in the heavyweight fight for life 

He is now 44, has two daughters Natasha, 19, and Rebecca, 14, and wife Leeanne has just one hope for the future.

"I just want to grow old with Stuart and have him around to see his kids grow up and have grandchildren," Mrs Clarke said.

Mr Clarke's illness is also tough on his two daughters as they come to terms with how ill their father is.

"Rebecca dealt with it a lot better than Natasha did," Mrs Clarke said.

Part of the reason for the delay in Mr Clarke going on the organ donor list is that he has had to lose a significant amount of weight.

He was once 142kg, and has dropped to 120kg, but the need for a new kidney has become more urgent than he can naturally lose weight.

"If he doesn't get the surgery he won't see Christmas next year," Mrs Clarke said.

In the meantime, Mr Clarke must go on dialysis three times a week for five hours each time.

His kidney disease has affected not only him but his family and his role as captain of Orange Rural Fire Brigade.

"It makes you lethargic and slow and you can't really do much, you're just sick in the stomach all the time," he said.

Mr Clarke is due to have gastric sleeve surgery next month to help him lose weight quickly, but it comes with a $15,000 price tag, something he and his wife simply cannot afford.

It has been his mates in the volunteer service that have rallied to help him during his time of need.

So far they have raised $12,258 through weekly raffles of firewood.

"When you wake up it's a blessing and I appreciate everyone helping me," Mr Clarke said.

"I do think it's not fair [to be sick] but you continually keep faith, when your time's up, your time's up."

Canobolas RFS zone manager David Hoadley said there have been some significant donations from the Orange community and one from a retired businessman who made a $1000 donation.

Tickets for the wood raffle are on sale at Bunnings Warehouse, north Orange shopping centre and Post Office Lane from 9am tomorrow.

There are two 1.3 tonne lots of wood up for grabs each week.