Second chance for singer weeks from death
THIS time last year Toowoomba singer April Hitzke was a shell of her former self.
Struck down by a mysterious lung illness, she was so weak that she couldn't walk and singing left her fighting for breath.
Fast forward a year, and she is back on her feet and preparing to perform at this year's Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.
This feat is made more remarkable by the fact that she is still recovering from her lung transplant surgery in May.
Mrs Hitzke said it was the first time in years she had been able to breathe easy.
"By the time I received my transplant, I had only weeks to live.
"I had never had any health issues before this, it just happened out of the blue.
"The transplant changed everything, I really do feel as if I have been handed a second chance."
Music has always been a large part of her life, and she forms part of The Hitzke Duet with her husband Nathan.
"Music is one of my loves, and to be able to sing again is indescribable.
"For the last couple years I would get breathless so easily and could not hold out my notes.
"I think the transplant has definitely changed the quality of my singing.
"I was in the habit of taking shallow breaths and now I can finally take deep breaths - it feels wonderful.
"I sometimes have to remind myself that I have new lungs."
The Hitzke Duo will perform at Laurel Bank Park during the Carnival of Flowers, taking to the stage at 10am on Saturday, September 22.