We are excited to announce that our first webinar of 2023 will be on the fascinating subject of ethical issues in transplantation. The FREE webinar will take place on Tuesday 24 January at 7.15pm. Please sign up here.
On the last day of #organdonationweek Giles, a retired GP, ran the challenging 26 miles of the London Marathon and raised an amazing £841.14 for Give a Kidney. Funds like these help our small charity continue with activities such as our free webinars.
Giles donated his kidney to a stranger 12 years ago, reminding us all that donating a kidney needn’t hold you back from amazing feats of endurance.
Giles – we’re very proud of you.
If you would like to take on a challenge to raise funds for Give a Kidney, please email us. We’ll happily provide a sponsorship form, branded t-shirt and support your event via our social media channels and newsletter.
Give a Kidney Trustee, Chris has the honour of being the first Batonbearer at the Queen’s Baton Relay on Friday (22 Jul). Birmingham is staging the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – an epic journey across the Commonwealth, with The Queen’s Baton visiting all 72 nations and territories.
Chris is running in Kenilworth and says: “The first leg seems to be all uphill so maybe it’s more of a fitness challenge!”
He add that it was “extraordinary” to find out that he would be a Batonbearer.
“I remember smiling so much when I got the email saying I’d been nominated but to actually be selected is just great. I’m a huge sports fan and to play even a small part in the games is such an honour. I really believe in the power of sport in bringing communities together and this is so much of what the Commonwealth is about. I’m very excited but terrified that I’ll drop the baton!”
In 2021, Chris donated one of his kidneys to his friend Steph who has Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and needed a transplant to live.
He says: “Before I had a friend in need, I had no idea really what kidneys did, that millions of us have two but only need one of them to live a happy and healthy life, or that living donation was even a possibility. I learned so much but most importantly that the NHS will never remove a kidney from someone unless doctors are satisfied that the short and long-term risk to the donor are acceptably low (trust me, there are a lot of tests!).
“Fortunately, Steph and I were compatible and so in March 2021 surgeons transplanted my left kidney into Steph and we’re both living happy and healthy lives. Steph’s a mum and it’s just so lovely seeing her little girl knowing she’s got both parents around.
“My mate Andy nominated me – a fellow sports fanatic who I think knows just how much this means to me. He’ll be there cheering me on on the day and I’m hoping I do him and Steph proud.”
I’m running at 8am in Kenilworth on Friday 22nd July. It’s the first leg of the day – route and details here: https://www.birmingham2022.com/queens-baton-relay/event/2673526/kenilworth
Paediatric Emergency Doctor and mother of three, Tessa, donated her kidney to a stranger last winter.
She admits that despite having sedated many patients, she was apprehensive about the operation but recovered well and ‘doesn’t feel any different living with just one kidney’.
More than 10 years ago, I listened to podcast called ‘Strangers’, which was about altruistic kidney donation in the USA. I thought, ‘I could do that’ and the idea grew from there. My family and I were living in Sydney at the time and I met briefly with the transplant team for an initial chat.
Shortly afterwards we decided to move back to the UK, so I shelved the idea. In 2019 we were settled, I had finished my medical training, had a permanent consultant job, and my kids were settled, so I decided to pursue the idea again and contacted the Royal Free Hospital.
The process was delayed by Covid-19, but I initially met with the team in Dec 2019 and I became a non-directed living kidney donor in Feb 2022. I was going to donate in Nov 2021, but sadly both my in-laws died within a few weeks of each other unexpectedly and so it wasn’t a good time for my family. I postponed it (even though I’d been matched in the sharing scheme), which I felt quite bad about, but it wouldn’t have been fair on my family.
The week before my operation, I was getting pretty stressed. It was my first ever operation and my first general anaesthetic. Even though I’ve sedated many, many patients and I know it’s fine, I became irrationally terrified of the anaesthetic. The night before I felt emotional – would I be okay? The morning was quick, the anaesthetist quickly reassured me and before I knew it, I was waking up.
The care I received from the transplant team was excellent and I have a new perspective now I’ve been a patient.
The first 2-3 weeks were pretty brutal. I had lots of pain – it hurt to sneeze, cough, or even laugh. I also had an intra-op complication which was unexpected but I guess that’s the reality of medical care. But after that my recovery sped up.
I know a child was one of the people in my chain. This means a huge amount to me as a paediatrician. I know very well what families go through with dialysis.
Anyone thinking about doing this, I would say ‘go for it’. It’s the best decision I have made.
Here, Caroline Basarab-Horwath, our Trustee, shares a typical day in her role as Living Donor Transplant Coordinator at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Alarm is set for 6.00am. Children and husband prepared for an early start as it’s ‘theatre day’. I wake particularly nervous as today our donor who is a non directed donor (donating to a stranger) is starting a chain of transplants. I call the ward before leaving home to make sure the donor is okay and hasn’t had any problems overnight.
When I arrive at the hospital I quickly change into scrubs and head to the ward to see the donor before joining the theatre staff for the morning briefing. I then call the other transplant centres to check their donors and recipients are all okay.
Once all the centres have confirmed they are ready, I let theatre staff know they can bring our donor down to the anaesthetic room. I then head off to theatre with the kidney box filled with ice, ready for safe removal of the kidney.
Once the operation has started, I head back to the office to catch up on some work until the theatre sister calls to say the kidney is ready to be removed. I then return to theatre to prepare the perfusion fluid and ice. The theatre falls quiet as the surgeon gets ready to remove the kidney, which is then swiftly inspected by the recipient’s surgeon. I watch eagerly as the perfusion fluid goes through the kidney.
When the surgeon is happy with the kidney he places it carefully in three bags and passes it to me – this is my favourite part. We have all worked so hard to coordinate this kidney donor, and now here it is in my hands. I then place it in the kidney box, ready for the next part of its journey.
I complete all the paperwork and call the driver who is waiting outside the theatre to let them know the kidney is ready. I then hand the kidney over to the driver and wish them a safe journey. I stand and watch the driver leave carrying the precious cargo and breath a sigh of relief. I then contact the Living Donor Coordinator of the centre that is waiting for the kidney to say it is on its way.
I inform the donor’s family that all has gone well, and the donor goes to recovery. Then it’s back to the office for a late lunch and to complete the paper work for the kidney donation. The phone is always ringing and I eagerly take referrals of new potential donors that are about to embark on their journey.
Before heading home, I visit the donor on the ward and marvel at what a wonderful thing they have done today. Not only have they given a new kidney to one person, which is the best treatment option for kidney failure, but started a chain of transplants decreasing the waiting list by 3 people all in one day.
As I drive home I feel incredibly proud of my small part of this an amazing achievement.
30-year-old Hannah donated a kidney to a stranger when she was 27.
I had a slightly unusual reason for donating. When I was just one years old I got E-Coli, Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) and had acute kidney failure. At the time I was lucky enough for my treatment to be part of a study at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and I made a really good recovery.
I wasn’t aware of the seriousness of HUS until I was older. After reading up on these illnesses, I felt I wanted to pass the good luck forward. I enquired about kidney donation, knowing I may not be eligible due to my medical history. However, the Churchill Hospital in Oxford allowed me to go through testing, and it transpired that my kidneys were very healthy.
I donated my kidney to a stranger – I was told my recipient was an 11-year-old girl – and it is the best thing I have ever done.
My initial recovery was a bumpy ride, but once I was on the up I bounced back. I returned to physical activity cautiously and slowly. Before donating my kidney, I had run four marathons; I wanted to show that donors can do everything afterwards that they could before, so I entered my 5th!
I joined Chiltern Harriers AC and trained for the Brighton Marathon, which I ran on Sunday 11 April 2022. I completed it in 4 hours and 45mins, which beats my pre-donation personal best! It was a tough 26.2 mile course but a great opportunity to wear a Give A Kidney vest and raise awareness of living kidney donation. The vest caught quite a bit of attention from spectators!
I would say to anyone considering living kidney donation, to research and ask lots of questions so that they can go ahead confidently. I see potential donors asking questions about quality of life and how living with one kidney will affect returning to activities – which is an understandable concern. However, as long as you recover well, there is nothing to stop you being as fit and strong as before.
I plan on continuing long-distance running and pushing myself. If anything, donation has made me prioritise a healthy lifestyle more to look after my remaining kidney. Living kidney donation is an opportunity to change someone’s life and give the gift of health, which it is a privilege to be able to do.
An Introduction to Robotic Surgery in Organ Donation and Transplantation
Saturday 26 March, 10am
Online via Zoom
We’re pleased to announce our next webinar in the Winter Webinars 2021/22 series which is a fascinating insight into the application of robotics in surgery.
In this webinar Mr Prodromos Laftsidis, Consultant Transplant Surgeon at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, will introduce robotic surgery for living kidney donors and transplant recipients. He will talk about the benefits and show what is involved in this procedure.
The webinar is suitable for anyone with an interest in the application of robotics in surgery or in kidney donor or recipient surgery. Please note the webinar will include filmed footage of surgical procedures. There will also be the chance to ask questions.
Born in Greece, Mr Prodromos Laftsidis remembers the first time he realised that he wanted to work in the field of transplantation. “My sister back in Greece had a kidney and pancreas transplant and I saw how her quality of life improved so dramatically. It was extraordinary.”
Mr Laftsidis (Makis) is currently a Consultant Transplant Surgeon at the Wessex Kidney Centre. He obtained his surgical training in Democritus University of Thrace (he also has a MSc from the same university and is completing his PhD, specialising in Hepatobiliary Diseases).
Click here to make a donation.
Please register in advance for this event by following the Zoom link below:
Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_B6uN-eXcR-Syv77KnWz1hw
Ruby was born with reflux of the kidneys which over time developed into renal failure. She had her first dialysis session on her 10th birthday in 2002.
I was on peritoneal dialysis for six years before I contracted a fungal infection called peritonitis which meant I had to switch to hemodialysis at the age of 16.
The day I got the call that changed my life was when I was 19 years old and in college. I was expecting a call from the hospital to confirm a date for my fistula operation which I was dreading. Instead I was told I was a match. I could not believe it.
The donor was young, a perfect match and alive. Not only that, the donor was donating to me even though he did not know me!
I had been told for a long time that I would never receive a call like this because I had too many antibodies. It wasn’t until I was being put asleep on the operating table six weeks later that I cried with happiness . I couldn’t bring myself to believe I could be that lucky.
My life since receiving my kidney has been amazing, I have done things I had never considered doing whilst on dialysis. I was never allowed to plan for the future before my transplant, always living to get through the next dialysis session.
My donor gave me a life to live for and I live every day to the fullest! In the 10 years since receiving my kidney, I have graduated from university, traveled and explored the world, received my black belt in jiu-jitsu, participated in a pageant, bought a house and got engaged. These may be things most people do in life but for a child on dialysis, waiting for a kidney, most of these things are just hopes and dreams.
The ten years of health I have had mean the world to me, the memories I have been able to make because of my donor are priceless and I count my lucky stars every day that I get to do all of these wonderful things because of him.
I wrote to my donor a week after my surgery and started my letter with the definition of a hero, because that is what he will always be to me.
We are delighted to welcome three new members to our Trustees and an additional new Steering Committee member.
Chris Luck, Caroline Basarab-Horwath and Edward Hibbert join as our new Trustees. Chris donated a kidney to a friend in 2021 and relied on insights from Give a Kidney to make an informed decision. Caroline has been a Living Donor Co-ordinator at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2005. Edward donated a kidney altruistically in 2019.
Harry Hobson has joined our Steering Committee. He became a non-directed kidney donor in 2020.
Find out more about them here.
Harry lives in Hammersmith (on a houseboat) and is Dad to two children. For fun, Harry enjoys mountain-biking and paddle-boarding, watching TV. He also keeps bees.
He works for Neighbourly Lab, a non-profit think-tank about communities, and also does consulting and innovation work around technology and religion. Harry became a non-directed kidney donor in 2020 at Guy’s Hospital in London and considers this to be the third or fourth best thing he’s ever done!
Chris is a project manager, with a background in strategy development, communications, and change. He works for a leading UK university, planning and coordinating change initiatives.
Chris donated a kidney to a friend in 2021 and relied on insights from Give a Kidney to make an informed decision. He’s now passionate about enabling others to make the same informed decisions about donation.
Caroline has been a Living Donor Co-ordinator in Sheffield since 2005. She is a registered nurse with 23 years’ renal experience. Caroline has always had a passion for transplantation and became a Sister on the transplant ward before commencing her role as Living Donor Co-ordinator. Caroline has recently initiated the ‘Daisy Chain’ Thank You’ cards for non-directed donors, that are now available nationally. Caroline feels extremely privileged to be part of living donation, and more so to work with such amazing donors.
Edward has worked for many years in IT, and now provides IT services for the third sector. He is particularly interested in how technology can create virtual communities and since 2005, has been involved in Freegle, which helps people give away stuff they don’t need to people who do. In 2018 he took this one step further by donating a kidney altruistically.
We would be very grateful if you would consider donating just a small amount perhaps:
- the cost of a drink you might have bought if this had been a face-to-face event OR
- the cost of your petrol, bus, or train ticket to get to a face-to-face event
You can donate here https://bit.ly/JGOneOff
Even a small amount like this will go a long way to help us cover the costs of continuing to hold events like these. For example, your donation will help cover
- planning and publicising events
- website and email hosting costs
- Zoom, domain name and other software subscriptions
If you have any questions or comments following the event, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, below are a few links where you can find more helpful information about living kidney donation or click on the useful links tab at the top of this page – https://www.giveakidney.org/useful-links/
You can also sign up for our quarterly newsletter at the bottom of this page or click on the Twitter or Facebook icons at the top of this page.
NHS Blood and Transplant Living Donation pages:
Facebook and online living donor support groups (private groups for living donors/potential living donors):
Living Donor Support Group UK: www.facebook.com/groups/244308043137537
Donate UK: www.facebook.com/groups/117436848908157
Living Kidney Donation: http://livingkidneydonation.co.uk
Once again, many thanks for your support and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions after the event.
The Give a Kidney Team
John Burns, an adult English teacher from Bromley, donated his kidney in 2019 at Guy’s Hospital in London. Here he shares his story:
“I am originally from the North East but came south, initially to university in Brighton, followed by drama school. I’m a teacher, and although this comes first and I have a role as a teaching union branch secretary, I still gets a kick out of work as a film extra – I love the glamour
“I think there is possibly an altruistic gene which I’ve inherited from my mother, a regular blood donor and inveterate helper of family and friends. In the autumn of 2017 when I read an article in a national paper written by a woman who had given a kidney to someone she didn’t know, I suddenly knew where my own altruistic urges should be directed.
“I spent the earlier part of my life trying to succeed in various fields – including acting – and eventually coming to terms with the difficult questions about what makes one’s life worthwhile. I moved from an inward-looking concern with ambition to be realised, to an outward view as to what might help other people.”
Having been inspired by the newspaper piece John mulled it over. His son was awaiting his A levels results and John needed time to discuss with his partner and family his growing conviction that donation was something he had a moral imperative to do. Perhaps his degree in psychology gave him insight into his altruistic motivation?
“At a Give A Kidney event, I talked to a kidney recipient who had been on dialysis every night for six long years. The organ he received from an unknown donor gave him back 85% of his life and meant he could see his three sons grow up. Cue immediate emotional response. If I had questioned my motivation to donate before, this story certainly nailed my commitment.
“My donation was a breeze! The confidence I felt in the team at Guy’s, from my coordinator to the surgeon, meant that fear was never part of the equation. The operation went smoothly, and I was out of hospital in four days and back to full strength in a few weeks. The only after effect was a boost to my self-esteem!
“As a lover of the English language and sometime poet, I feel that some lines from Tennyson’s Ulysses sum up the wish to do something worthwhile in our otherwise unremarkable lives:
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note may yet be done.”
And John’s verdict: ‘I would not feel as comfortable in my own skin as I do now if I had not donated my kidney’.
Before teacher Rachel gave her spare kidney to someone she didn’t know, she already knew rather more than she wanted about the process. Her introduction came through a friend who worked on the dialysis ward in a Nottingham hospital and through whom she had learnt how unpleasant that is. But then, out of the blue, her husband suffered a massive stroke at work and she saw kidney donation at first hand. While her husband was briefly on life support, Rachel and her three grown-up children realised that this appalling experience could not only benefit two people in need, it gave a common focus to them all and, she says, held them together. They donated both her husband’s kidneys and, ‘For our family, it was massively helpful to have done it.’ They knew it was what he would have wanted.
A couple of years later, Rachel heard former jockey Richard Pitman being interviewed ten days after making his own donation. Rachel says he was so upbeat about it she immediately thought, ‘I could do that’ and contacted the Liverpool transplant centre. She was fascinated by the work-up process and when the surgeon offered her an operating slot in Christmas week – which he expected her to turn down – she jumped at it. ‘A great time to sit around being looked after and eating chocolates!’ Which she did! Were her family supportive? Her youngest suggested she might limit herself to giving blood; the others rallied to the cause when – as scientists – they had researched the risks and satisfied themselves that they were minimal. But afterwards, she was amused to see the careful arrangements made for a kidney recipient’s discharge; when her son collected her, he had no compunction about getting her to cross a six-lane road to the car park. Quite a contrast! She hasn’t heard from her recipient directly but knows that the transplant was a success. For her, that’s enough.
Rachel was delighted when the annual Transplant Games were held in Liverpool, her adopted city, in 2016 and she joined the impressive opening ceremony with a group of donor families and live donors from Give A Kidney. To her surprise, a huge fuss was made of them when they entered the stadium – real VIP treatment – and the sporting kidney recipients made them feel special.
Living Donation and Coronavirus COVID-19 Latest Information and FAQs.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on all areas of life, and organ donation and transplantation including living donation have been significantly affected since March 2020.
Although the situation is now much more settled, it remains unpredictable through different waves of COVID-19.
We’ve gathered some answers to commonly asked questions about living donation in the context of COVID-19 and Coronavirus. If you have a question that isn’t covered here then please let us know and we will try to find answers for you. We appreciate this has been, and remains, a particularly anxious time for those going through the assessment process or who were already approved to donate, but those who have already donated may also have some concerns. Please remember we are here to support you, so please do get in touch on email@example.com if you feel we might be able to help.
- How had COVID-19 impacted living donation?
At the height of the initial outbreak, all units across the UK suspended living donation. The health and safety of donors was paramount in making these decisions. It took some time for living donation to be introduced back into many units, but all the living donor units have reopened and, for the most part, almost normal service has resumed. However, it has been taking time for teams to clear the backlog of transplants and assessments that were already planned and the situation may change again if we experience further waves. Decisions continue to be taken on an individual basis in relation to the safety of the donor, recipient (if there is one identified) and local situations in terms of both levels of COVID-19 within units and of local resources available.
A up-to-date list of centres and their current status (open or closed) for deceased and living donation can still be found here. This is being kept up to date with the latest information as things change, so is the best source of up to date information.
- I was already going through the assessment process for living donation when the COVID-19 pandemic began. What is the situation now in terms of continuing with assessment?
Your local team will be able to advise you on the current situation in your centre. Please be aware that many living donor coordinators may be redeployed to carry out other duties during waves of COVID, and may be required to do so in any further waves, so they may not be in a position to respond to enquiries in the ways we might hope and expect. Please be patient if you can. If you have a very urgent query that you feel cannot wait and have been unable to get in touch with your living donor coordinator team, you can use firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice and support.
- I should have been going into a matching run. What is happening?
Unfortunately the April and July 2020 matching runs were both cancelled. The October 2020 matching run did proceed and identified a large number of transplants. The January 2021 matching run was also suspended to allow the matches generated in October to proceed as a priority with the reduced capacity currently available. All other 2021 matching runs proceeded as normal. Again, it is taking some time to clear the backlog, but transplant centres have been working exceptionally hard to carry out transplants when possible and whenever it is considered safe to do so.
- I have already begun the assessment process but I’m now worried about donating?
It is completely understandable that some potential donors will now feel more worried or concerned about donating in light of COVID-19. Please be assured that you can withdraw from the donation at any point up to your surgery if you change your mind. Care teams will understand and support you in your decision, whatever you decide and will be initiating a conversation with you about whether you wish to proceed. The team will be able to tell you about the arrangements that have been made to make your donation as safe as possible in the context of COVID-19. Any additional risk to donors due to COVID-19 will be explained to donors and decisions to proceed or not will be taken in consultation with potential donors at this time. If you feel unsure at any time contact your living donor coordinator so that you can discuss your concerns and any additional risks that COVID-19 presents to help you come to a decision that is right for you. As always, if you wish to have a more informal chat about living donation, Give a Kidney remains here to support you, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
- I’d like to put myself forward as a non-directed living kidney donor. What should I do?
Thank you for considering donation. Kidneys from non-directed living donors make a huge contribution and are a very welcome part of the organ donation programme. Now, more than ever, your contribution will make a big difference. You can fill in the expression of interest form on NHS Blood and Transplant Website here: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/become-a-living-donor/living-kidney-donation/ but please be aware that you still may not receive a response as quickly as normal during this time. Meanwhile we suggest that you read through the content on our Give A Kidney website and access the living donation pages of NHSBT’s site here: www.organdonation.nhs.uk/become-a-living-donor/ for educational films and resources. We can also put you in touch with a previous non-directed living kidney donor who has been through the experience if you would like to talk to someone with lived experience of donation. Please just get in touch with us via email at email@example.com.
- Does the potential presence of COVID-19 in hospitals put me at greater risk as a donor/potential donor?
The major and most significant risks of donation will be discussed with all potential donors before donation, and a discussion about the particular risks of COVID-19 to you as an individual will form part of this discussion. Please be assured that your teams will not proceed with living donation until the risk is considered to be as low as possible. All transplant centres have procedures to ensure that living donation is performed in the safest possible environment. As always, donation is a very personal decision and should you decide not to proceed with donation, at whatever stage you are in the process, your care team will fully accept and support that decision. Even if you have already been matched you can still decide not to proceed, or you can choose to proceed at a later date.
In addition, donors and everyone in their household, may be asked to completely isolate for up to 14 days prior to donation for the foreseeable future so you may need to consider how this works with your personal circumstances. As a precaution, you may also be asked to self-isolate post donation in case you have to return to hospital unexpectedly after surgery.
- I have had COVID-19 and recovered. Can I still be considered as a living donor?
In principle, there is no reason why you should not be considered as a living donor if you have had COVID-19, depending upon your general health and well-being. Every person will be assessed on an individual basis so the best thing to do is to contact the living donor team in your unit to discuss this with them in more detail. Every potential organ donor is being tested for COVID-19 prior to donation.
- Where can I find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on transplantation and organ donation?
If you’d like to keep up to date with the rapidly-changing picture in transplantation, you can find information from NHSBT that is kept up to date regularly here:
www.odt.nhs.uk/deceased-donation/covid-19-advice-for-clinicians/ and also at www.bts.org.uk/information-resources/covid-19-information/. However, please note, that the latter two links are aimed at clinicians rather than patients. Kidney Care UK provide excellent resources for patients with kidney disease on a range of topics, including transplantation at www.kidneycareuk.org/news-and-campaigns/coronavirus-advice/
- I’m still concerned. Where can I find support?
We understand this is a worrying time for donors and potential donors. If you have a concern or query about living kidney donation please do get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be here to support you or to direct you to other available support. If you have a query that is very specific to your own situation, your local care team are best placed to advise you, but please do be aware that they may take longer than usual to respond. If you have any more general concerns about your health, please contact your GP.
From 20 May 2020, the law around deceased organ donation in England has changed. As in Wales, all adults in England are now considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.
This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt out’ system. You may also hear it referred to as ‘Max and Keira’s Law’. You still have a choice whether or not you wish to become a donor.
For more information on what his means please visit NHS Blood and Transplant’s website here.
Whilst we hope this change will increase the number of organs available for donation, we do not envisage the changes to the law will negate the need for living kidney donors. There are almost 5000 people in need of a kidney in the UK and it is very unlikely that supply of organs from deceased donors will meet this demand. For most patients with kidney disease, a kidney from a living donor is still the best treatment option, and kidneys from non-directed donors are invaluable in the kidney sharing scheme, triggering up to three transplants at a time. With transplantation vastly reduced due to COVID-19, we will be re-doubling our efforts to ask people to consider whether they might be a living kidney donor when transplantation activity returns to normal.
We have been aware that some living donors were incorrectly advised to ‘shield’ during the Coronavirus pandemic. We have double checked with NHSBT and living donors do not need to shield, unless they have another of the underlying health conditions. If you are at all unsure please check with your unit or GP.
This September non-directed kidney donor, Ray Duffy, I and his good friends Glenn (of Glenn Gordon Mountaineering) and Neil Busby (of Climb Caledonia Ireland) climbed the iconic Scottish sea stack, The Old Man of Hoy. At night. The climb was special for Glenn as in January 2018 he had a bad climbing accident and was told to give up the sport. Yet less than two years on he is back like Ray, after his donation, doing what they love. The purpose of the climb was to again raise awareness for living kidney donation and show that donating a kidney does not usually impact the donor’s lifestyle or ability to live a full and healthy life.
Ray also raised several thousand pounds to support Give a Kidney and we are very grateful to him and all the team for taking on this epic challenge. Ray’s story was picked up by media around the world as far away as India, Australia and the USA and continues to raise awareness. To read more about the heart-warming story that inspired Ray, and what he plans next visit his website at his website or to make a donation visit his Just Giving Page. Thanks Ray!
Kiran Gupta is a corporate partnerships specialist, with a successful client-facing career history, spanning both private and non-profit (charity and cultural) sectors. She is from West London and she donated a kidney to a stranger in 2017. Having benefited herself from Give A Kidney’s information and support whilst going through the living donor process, Kiran was delighted to be offered the opportunity to become a Trustee of the charity in 2019.
Just before Christmas 2018, we were delighted to help facilitate some press coverage for a non-directed donor meeting her recipient for the first time.
Enormous thanks to Teresa Dobson (donor), Joe Salvatore (recipient of Teresa’s kidney) and Joe’s daughter Carmel Dalby who donated onwards as part of a chain, for allowing us to be there for their special moment and achieving lots of international press coverage (as far afield as Australia!)
Here’s a heart-warming ITV piece about a rather special man, Nicholas Crace, who donated a kidney to a stranger at 82, celebrating his 90th birthday with fellow kidney donors. Congratulations Nicholas – you have inspired many other donors through your story.
An episode of BBC Inside Out South, shown on Monday 10 September, follows two people who are willing to undergo life-changing surgery to help a complete stranger by donating one of their kidneys. You can watch the programme here:
We are grateful to Jack, as well as to all of our supporters, who share their story and so help raise awareness of the need for more people to come forward to do the same.
The BOUnD study is inviting all potential kidney donors in the UK to share their experience of the donation process. If you have considered being a donor and have made contact with a transplant professional or a transplant centre, the study team would like to hear from you – whether or not your donation is progressing.
Please contact Marriam Ghaffar from the BOUnD Team on email@example.com or 07939207381
We are enormously saddened to share news of the passing of our great friend and colleague Dr Chris Burns-Cox on 29 June, 2018. Chris was one of the founding members of Give a Kidney and has remained a driving force and a trustee of the charity throughout its existence. His incomparable passion, enthusiasm and his tremendous commitment to raising awareness of non-directed kidney donation in the hope of meeting our ambition ‘no waiting for a transplant for want of a kidney’ has changed countless lives for the better. He is a great loss and will be hugely missed by us all.
You can view our tribute to Chris here: Chris Burns-Cox a tribute
There will be talks from people who have donated a kidney either to someone they love or to someone they don’t know on the UK transplant waiting list. As well as speakers who have received a kidney from a living donor, and specialist clinicians, including the Lead Nurse for Living Donation in the UK, Lisa Burnapp.
Kidney Care UK Policy Director, Fiona Loud, who has received a kidney from a living donor and will be speaking at the event, lives in St Albans. She said “Every single day three people die waiting for a transplant and around 80% of those who are waiting are waiting for a kidney. There has been a lot of focus on organ donation recently, but we still see that not many people realise that you can donate a kidney when you are alive”.
Jan Shorrock of Give a Kidney, will also be speaking at the event, she added: “Many people still don’t realise that in the same way you can donate blood or stem cells to someone in need, most healthy people can also step forward to donate a kidney. Around 1000 people each year donate in this way in the UK, and around 100 of these donate to someone they do not know, just whoever needs it on the waiting list. Donating a kidney to a stranger can ‘trigger’ a chain of up to three transplants – so these kinds of donations are incredibly valuable.”
All are welcome, please join us.
Merseyside Kidney Donor celebrates World Kidney Day with incredible Organ Donor Register achievement
Paul Dixon, a Merseyside man who donated one of his kidneys to a stranger on his 65th birthday, is celebrating World Kidney Day (8 March) and the fifth anniversary of his own donation with a remarkable achievement – signing up more than 10,000 people to the organ donor register.
Paul, from Birkenhead, has been actively encouraging people to sign the register after he himself donated a kidney to a stranger as a living donor in 2013. After his donation he was invited to join the organ donation committees at Wirral University Teaching Hospital and Royal Liverpool University Hospital as a layperson. He soon realised that there wasn’t anybody promoting the Organ Donor Register on a regular basis, so volunteered himself and commenced in January 2015 doing one full day with a stand at each week at each hospital.
Remarkably, to date Paul has signed up almost 10,000 people to the organ donor register.
Since his donation, Paul has also raised money for charity Give a Kidney by having the organ donor card tattooed on his arm, and been awarded the title of Wirral Volunteer of the Year 2016 and the Local Hero award from Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce in November 2017.
Paul said about his kidney donation: “It’s amazing how a small act of kindness on my part can make a huge difference to someone else, donating a kidney was definitely the best thing I have ever done. Living donation is not for everyone, but everyone can decide to offer their organs after death, so I’m delighted to have enabled such a lot of people to make that important life-saving decision. Most of us would take an organ if we needed one and signing the organ donor register is something many people plan to do but never quite get around to. It’s very easy and only takes a couple of minutes. With so many people waiting for a transplant, every person that signs is vital so please visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk today and sign up, and make sure you let your family know of your wishes to help them make that difficult decision if that time comes,
Jan Shorrock, of Give a Kidney said: “Paul is doing fantastic work on behalf of the 5000 people in the UK waiting for a transplant. Currently several hundred people die every year in need of an organ because, sadly, not enough organs are available from deceased donors. At Give a Kidney we aim to raise awareness of the fact that humans only need one kidney and fit, healthy people can consider giving a kidney ‘altruistically’ – i.e. to a stranger, considerably improving the recipient’s quality of life and their life expectancy. Living kidney donation has been taking place in the UK since the 1960s and is now widely-practised across the UK. Although people are now regularly coming forward to donate in this way, there is still a long way to go before we make a real dent on the length of the waiting list. We recognise that living donation is not for everyone but we would still encourage everyone to sign the organ donation register to donate after their death and congratulate Paul on this wonderful achievement.”
New statistics from NHSBT show that at end of December 2017, 634 people in the UK had donated a kidney as a non-directed altruistic donor (86 in 2017 alone). More than 120 of these donors facilitated chains, enabling 2 or 3 transplants to take place which may not otherwise have been possible. Congratulations and thank you to all involved.
In order to make the most of these very valuable donations, from January 2018, all non-directed kidneys will automatically be used in chains, unless there is a high-priority patient match on the waiting list. This will mean than non-directed kidneys ‘trigger’ more transplants wherever possible.