FFA Cup and Hyundai A-League referee to give sister the gift of life

It was just another night at the office for Hyundai A-League referee David Walsh when he ran the lines during Saturday night’s FFA Cup Semi-Final between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC.

Little did a packed Panthers Stadium know that the 34-year-old is set to undergo surgery as he donates a kidney to dying sister Joanne Vecchio.

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Walsh’s sister has been battling kidney failure for nearly two decades now. The siblings’ late father Edward Walsh gave his daughter a kidney in 2008, but medication changes in recent years resulted in another failure.

Joanne has been forced to undergo dialysis every second day for the past five years, but she will now receive a chance at living normally again thanks to her brother.

“Most people don’t have two live donors available. It’s very, very rare,” Walsh told The Daily Telegraph.

“My brother and I were both happy to step up if we needed to. It is a big deal, but dad has already been through it and they do a few hundred of them every year in Australia.

“I was quite happy to go through with it because I’ve got a spare and mine are pretty good.

“So it’s great that, all going well in a couple of weeks, we can get some resolution and she can get back to her normal life.”

Walsh has been on the referee’s panel since 2009 and is set to go under the knife on October 18.

More than 1,400 Australians are currently waitlisted for an organ transplant. You can help transform lives through the gift of organ and tissue donation – for more information head to www.donatelife.gov.au.