Celebrating more than 1,000 people who have donated their kidney to a stranger.

More than 1,000 people in the UK have now donated a kidney anonymously to a stranger on the transplant waiting list as a living donor since the law was changed to allow this in 2006. This is known as non-directed living kidney donation.

Neil Cheetham, 59, from Devon became the 1,000th non-directed – or altruistic – living kidney donor in 2023 and his donation took place at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.

Neil said: “I had a close friend who needed a kidney transplant. Ultimately, sadly, he was unable to receive a kidney, but it made me realise that there are many people whose life could be transformed by living donation. I met a local man who had already donated a kidney to a stranger many years ago and he helped to guide me to through the process. I have no regrets at all. I’m as healthy as ever, regularly cycling, walking and climbing. Just six months after the donation I visited Norway to climb there. It feels good to have been able to help someone in need.”

Bob Wiggins, Chair of charity Give a Kidney, said: “There are currently most than 5,500 people in the UK in need of a kidney so we’re encouraging everyone to consider if you could be a living donor. Many people still don’t know that any healthy adult can volunteer as a living donor. Thanks to these 1,000 donors countless lives have been changed for the better. Not only that, but together this group has already saved the NHS millions of pounds over the cost of keeping the recipients on dialysis treatment.”

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