"The music gave us something to wake up for"
WHILE many travel long distances to come to the Clarence Valley Country Music Muster, for Miriam Tasker and her family the journey was a long-haul of a different kind.
Miriam has been on dialysis for the past three years after kidney failure, and in June this year had a kidney transplant as part of a donor program that saw her partner Campbell give up one of his kidneys for another patient.
After being in hospital for two and a half weeks after the operation, and then in Brisbane for two and a half months for daily blood tests to adjust anti-rejection drug dosages she will be on for the rest of her life, Miriam's recovery at home in Coutts Crossing has given her a quality of life that allows her to play music to an audience again.
"I'm a lot better. I'm not nauseated any more, I'm not sick, and my energy is returning everyday," Miriam said.
"It's given me my life back, and I really wanted to be well enough to get back here and get up on stage."
Campbell said music had been a big part of their lives, especially while undergoing dialysis, saying often times it kept them sane. "The music gave us something to wake up for. If you're doing dialysis every day and not doing something else, what have you got to look forward to?"
The family, who play their original country music under the name of Country Heritage, are regular visitors to the festival, playing as part of the walk-ups each day, and say they love the feel of the music event.
"To come together and have the support on stage is great fun," Miriam said. "The Muster has the greatest atmosphere. It's a big family, and everyone's here to have fun."