Tania and Tony Baker live 405 kms from Brisbane’s PA Hospital, but the hospital has been a lifesaver for their son, and now they’re giving back by walking over 100kms along the Great Ocean Road with four other friends.
Tania and Tony wouldn’t be grandparents to Archie and Mason had it not been for the PA Hospital’s kidney transplant and intensive care unit team’s care of their son Luke Baker.
Tania and Tony Baker with their four grandchildren including Luke's boys Archie and Mason.
Luke now 30, first had kidney troubles following a urinary tract infection at just 3.5 years old which would result in a damaged kidney with limited function. Despite serious kidney problems at such a young age, Luke would live a full life as kid before starting a building apprenticeship and becoming a talented rugby league player, who would be recruited to play in Brisbane for a feeder club of the Melbourne Storm.
Luke was 24, when he collapsed at work one day in Brisbane in late 2013 and his journey with the PA began.
Luke Baker (right) with wife Carly Baker (left), Luke's Aunt and kidney donor Janice Williams with Carly and Luke's son Archie Baker.
Rushed to the PA’s Emergency Department, Luke and the Baker family would learn his kidney was failing and he would require dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant.
Tony would give his son one of his kidneys in 2015, with the transplant operation performed at the PA, the largest kidney transplant service in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately for the family, though Tony’s kidney was believed to be a perfect match it unfortunately didn’t take.
Luke would move to Toowoomba and eventually back home to Wandoan where he would start a Building business and amazingly keep working all while undergoing home dialysis treatments as well as eventual round trips to Toowoomba for dialysis to keep him alive.
Luke Baker and his Aunt Janice Williams at the PA when Janice donated Luke one of her kidneys.
Thankfully, Luke’s Aunt Janice Williams offered Luke her one of kidneys in 2017 and amazingly for the now dad of two and local employer of seven, the transplant operation which again occurred at the PA was a success and his body accepted the donated kidney. Luke with his wife and family has also started his own Santa Gertrudis Bull Stud 2 years ago.
Starting on Sunday (13 March) Tania and Tony will walk the Great Ocean Road with friends to raise funds for the PA’s kidney transplant service, walking around 20 kilometers or more each day and sleeping in tents each night as a thanks to the healthcare professionals who helped Luke.
“We were going to do the walk anyway, so we thought why not try to raise a little bit of money to give back to the transplant service and also just raise the awareness of the importance of organ donation,” Tania said.
Luke and Carly Baker with their sons Archie and Mason.
Tania and Tony have been training for the 100km plus adventure by walking the paddocks of their property at Wandoan, with Luke, his wife Carly and their sons and Tania and Tony’s grandsons living nearby on the adjoining property among their biggest supporters as well as their other children and their families.
Though they live in regional Queensland, Tania said they were eternally grateful to the Brisbane hospital and its staff for the integral role in the health and wellbeing of their son and the quality of life he now enjoys thanks to his kidney transplant.
“The PA had definitely has had a big positive impact on our lives through the transplant operations and care of Luke. In the lead up to both operations everyone there was just wonderful, Julie Haynes our transplant coordinator and her whole team especially,” Tania said.
If you would like to support Tania and Tony’s efforts and support the PA Hospital’s kidney transplant serviceyou can donate via Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/donate/334808141937608/