A Warrnambool man who had a heart transplant in August was delighted he was able to return home for Christmas.
Anthony Kelly, 62, was able to be back in the south-west after months spent in a Melbourne hospital.
Mr Kelly said he would be eternally grateful for being given a second chance by a generous organ donor.
"Organ donors are so very important," Mr Kelly said.
"We, as a family, are so grateful to the donor.
"It's a chance for another human to give the ultimate gift of life to a family's loved one."
Mr Kelly said he knew he had a long way to go but he was delighted to be home.
"I feel I have overcome many hurdles and reached goals the doctors and physiotherapist set for me - I had to before I could even think about returning to Warrnambool," he said.
"I am still doing an extensive rehabilitation program in Warrnambool and we are travelling to The Alfred in Melbourne once a month to monitor any rejection complications."
He said he and his wife Leeanne were incredibly grateful to everyone who had supported the couple during the past five months.
Mr Kelly said the two had been blown away with the generosity of community members, who donated to a GoFundMe page.
"That money was our lifeline," he said.
"It paid for our accommodation while we were in Melbourne as well as transport, food and medication. "It will also continue to help with the cost of the monthly trips to Melbourne.
"People's generosity and support has encouraged me to focus on my health without the added financial pressure.
"Leeanne has been by my side from day one - educating herself and me with my medical routine, keeping me on track and she continues to."
Mr Kelly said he felt extremely lucky to be given a second chance.
"Life is short. Make memories with your loved ones while you can and register to be a donor to give the gift of life to another."
He had been on the donor list for the past eight months after having a major heart attack at age 36.
Mr Kelly has had multiple minor heart attacks in the years since and a stroke at 42.
He also struggled with epilepsy and diabetes.
In his younger days, Mr Kelly played for the Dennington Football Netball Club.
He broke a Warrnambool and District League record in 1985 when he kicked 24 goals in the club's match against Bushfield.
Mr Kelly, who is a member of the Warrnambool Bowls Club, is looking forward to getting back on the green with his new heart at some stage.
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