Ethan Daws had a childhood unlike most others.
Born 12 weeks premature, his family was told he would need an organ donation before his first birthday due to an under-functioning kidney.
Despite the odds Ethan’s strength and determination prevailed, seeing him receive a kidney from his father when he turned 14.
‘‘I was born with a kidney one sixth of the normal size,’’ Ethan said.
‘‘It was only a matter of time until I needed a transplant ... I was lucky enough that both mum and dad could have donated one of theirs to me.’’
With a successful kidney transplant under his belt, the Kilmore local took up swimming with his eyes set on the 2017 World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain.
Attended by more than 60 countries around the world, the Transplant Games celebrate people who have defied the odds and received successful transplants at some point during their lives.
‘‘I decided to pursue swimming, I had never swam professionally before,’’ Ethan said.
‘‘My decision was purely based on going to the games, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go on a holiday.’’
Ethan began his training in 2012, competing in several games around the world in the lead up to the world tittles.
While Ethan says he ‘‘wasn’t a very good swimmer when he started’’, hard work and determination worked in his favour.
Success soon began to flow, with Ethan being selected to represent Australia at the Malaga Games where he took home two silver medals in the 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley.
While Ethan has achieved more than most 20-year-olds, he says he will always remember where he started.
‘‘You cannot let any illness get in your way ... don’t let anything stop you.’’
Ethan also encouraged everyone to consider organ donation, and the impact it can have on changing someone’s life for the better.
Goulburn Valley Health’s nurse donation specialist Natasha Pearson says organ donation is a conversation that should be had with family and friends.
‘‘A large percentage of people out there are waiting for an organ transplant when there is no donor available for them,’’ Ms Pearson said.
‘‘Stories like Ethan’s make it all worthwhile ... he says he treasures every day.’’