New lease of life, thanks to Mum

Kidney recipient Tamaryn Stevens is a gold medal chance at the National Transplant Games. 158930

By Justin Flynn

It’s impossible not to feel the mutual admiration and love that Tamaryn and Amy Stevens have for each other.
Tamaryn, 24, is Amy’s daughter and received one of the greatest gifts that another human being can give to another – life.
Amy donated one of her kidneys to her daughter 11 years ago after Tamaryn was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerular sclerosis, a disease that attacks the kidneys.
The high school English teacher was on dialysis for two years prior to her transplant.
As I sit in the living room of their Ocean Grove house, I ask Tamaryn how she felt all those years ago when her mother literally gave part of herself so that her daughter could survive.
Tamaryn grips her mother’s knee and says “She’s pretty special”.
Amy’s face gleams with pride as she shows me a photo album of her daughter’s cycling races.
It turns out that Tamaryn is quite an athlete. She will compete in the National Transplant Games in Sydney later this month in the 5km cycling time trial and the 30km road race. She is the reigning gold medallist for both events at the games, which is for people who have had organ transplants.
“I took up cycling when I was 16,” she said.
“I went to my first transplant games and the only sport I could really do was badminton.”
Tamaryn then met a “lovely couple” and one of them – Stuart – encouraged her to take up cycling.
“I bought my first road bike and put in some good efforts, but then dropped off a little bit,” Tamaryn said.
“I had a five-year gap where I did little cycling.”
But then she regained the passion and progressed rapidly to the point where she was selected for the World Transplant Games in Argentina. That would become the turning point.
“I got to that race in Argentina and it was just so much fun,” Tamaryn said.
“I just found my love for it again and I just said to myself ‘I need to do this more – I love it’.”
Tamaryn won two bronze medals in Argentina.
Tamaryn said the camaraderie at the Argentina Games was something special.
“It’s hyper competitive when we’re racing, but when we cross the finish line, we’re all friends again,” she said.
“As fun as it is to compete, the big message is that it is our second chance at life.”
Both Tamaryn and Amy are passionate about organ donation.
Amy says she is perfectly healthy with one kidney.
“I’d like people to understand that you can be absolutely fine on one kidney,” she said.
“We love to remind the community about organ donation.”
To find out more about organ donation, see