Mark Colvin’s Kidney Donation Becomes a Play

For over 40 years, Mark Colvin has brought the news to Australians around the world.

Now the respected ABC reporter is in his own story.

Colvin is the subject of a new piece that details his vital organ transplant, aptly named Mark Colvin’s Kidney.

The veteran journalist’s career nearly killed him.

Colvin suffered kidney failure after falling ill while covering the conflict in Rwanda and 20 years later needed a transplant.

He even met his donor on the job, in an interview about the “News of the World” phone hacking scandal in the UK.

Prominent business adviser Mary-Ellen Field had been accused of providing reporters with personal information about one of her clients, model Elle McPherson.

Actors Sarah Peirse and John Howard in the Belvoir production of Mark Colvin’s Kidney.(ABC News: Nicole Chettle)

A friendship was born between interviewer and interviewee and when the time came, Mrs. Field donated a kidney to Colvin.

Colvin had three years of dialysis before his transplant.

“It’s wonderful. I don’t have to go on dialysis three days a week,” Colvin said.

“And I don’t have to go through this roller coaster of being slowly poisoned by your own body.”

Let’s talk about organ donation

Colvin said his passion for organ donation predated his surgery by “a long time” and urged families to talk about the subject.

“I’m not going to say ‘You have to donate your organs’, I’m saying you have to tell people what your wishes are whether or not you want to donate your organs,” he said. .

“When that time comes, it will probably be because of a car accident or a terrible accident like that and they [your family] won’t be able to ask you afterwards.”

Ms. Field was back at work 11 days after the operation.

“You know there’s a bit of pain the first few days, but hey, you’re saving someone’s life,” she said.

The play’s director, David Berthold, said the production brought to light contemporary issues, such as organ donation and justice.

Colvin admitted to being a little nervous about watching his life on stage.

“I went into the rehearsal rooms the other day and saw the hospital bed and it triggered a bit of PTSD,” he said.

“I spent 22 years in and out of hospital beds and I think that’s [the play] going to push me a bit in that direction.”

The play was written by acclaimed Australian playwright Tommy Murphy and the first season began at Sydney’s Belvoir Street Theatre.

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