Mark Brewer has had a long journey, but more than a decade after receiving a life-saving heart transplant he's ready to show off what recipients are made of.
The Australian Transplant Games will take place in Launceston next year, giving recipients, donor families and the rest of the community a chance to come together and celebrate an incredible cause.
Mr Brewer was told he would likely need a transplant after being diagnosed with a heart condition aged 32. He first realised something was wrong after experiencing some uneven heart rhythms and feeling faint.
Doctors couldn't determine the cause but they did know he had a symptom called complete heart block.
"My heart function at that stage was still quite reasonable, so they gave me a pacemaker which seemed to fix everything. Unbeknownst to us, the condition was still there, and it was deteriorating my heart," he said.
"It was only probably another 12 months or 18 months later that I had a [ventricular tachycardia] arrest at my workplace, which was at Pipers Brook."
Luckily, an assistant winemaker was able to restart Mr Brewer's breathing, saving his life. He then went to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne where two weeks later, doctors found the condition that had been plaguing him - sarcoidosis.
"My heart function was depleting but the pacemaker was actually keeping me going," Mr Brewer said.
Mr Brewer had to leave his position at Pipers Brook, and took up a less physically-demanding position teaching wine and viticulture at TasTAFE.
As time went on, he experienced a few more medical "hiccups".
"I had a stroke and I had to relearn how to walk and talk and do everything," he said. "A lot of people who have had a heart transplant or any kind of transplant usually have a challenging medical history and I can sympathise with, everybody sort of goes through the same thing."
"I was really kept going by medication, by five pacemakers. My heart would only go with the support of a pacemaker."
Then things got worse.
"I was walking close to my house on the Zigzag Track and I collapsed, probably through exertion. I was taken to hospital unconscious, and it was at that point that they said, 'look, your heart has really deteriorated now, I think it's time to go back to Melbourne'," he said.
Doctors told him he was surviving on a heart function of about 30 per cent. He was sent to Melbourne to be assessed for a transplant in October 2007. He didn't get the all-clear that he was on the list until November.
"By that stage things were really starting to deteriorate. They'd given me another pacemaker defibrillator which would protect me," he said.
"By Christmas I had this really incredible experience when I was walking with my daughter at the beach at Weymouth and all of a sudden we heard this beeping like a truck backing up. We were looking around trying to figure out where this noise was coming from, and realised it was this pacemaker defibrillator alerting me that I had to seek medical attention straight away."
While in Hobart in February, he received the much-awaited call.
"I recognised the voice on the phone ... the transplant coordinator said, 'we need you in Melbourne straight away'," he said.
He had the transplant, and within about five months Mr Brewer was back at work.
"After 12 months I started to really enjoy the benefits of the new heart. I had new energy. I started to think about all the things I wanted to do.
"Then I heard about the Transplant Games."
He competed in his first games in 2012, participating both across the world and in Australia.
"The Transplant Games were started to give recipients a chance to regain their fitness, to give them something to work towards. That gave me that inspiration to do that as well," he said.
"The games also give us an opportunity to demonstrate to our friends and other people that after having an organ transplant you can live a normal life.
"We don't know our donor. We never get told that. But it's a way of thanking them, of showing them the gratitude that we have and how we're not going to waste that opportunity.
"Hopefully, this gives them some comfort to know that their loved ones' organs are helping other people to live their life to the fullest."
To sign up to the Australian Organ Donor Register, click here.
For more information about the games, visit transplant.org.au.