A woman who donated one of her kidneys to a stranger, is asking others to consider whether they could also ‘Share Their Spare’ this World Kidney Day (14 March, 2019)
Donating a kidney to someone unknown on the national transplant waiting list is known as non-directed (altruistic) living kidney donation.
Diane Franks (66), from Swindon, donated a kidney as a living donor at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital in 2010 and has since become an active supporter of many others going through the process through her website www.livingkidneydonation.co.uk
Diane said, “There are currently nearly 5000 people waiting for a kidney in the UK, and around 250 people die each year in need of one. With so much news about the new opt out system around deceased donation, I’m using the opportunity of World Kidney Day to remind people that they do not have to be deceased to donate, they can potentially help someone now. Donating a kidney was the best thing I have ever done, knowing I had saved someone and given them back to their family to live a normal life. To find out more visit www.giveakidney.org”
Bob Wiggins, of charity, Give a Kidney said: “We’re encouraging everyone to consider if you could share your spare. Many people still don’t know that any healthy adult can volunteer as a living donor and more than 700 people in the UK have now donated one of their healthy kidneys to a stranger, changing hundreds of lives for the better. Not only that, but someone stepping forward to donate in this way can potentially trigger up to three transplants, so kidneys from donors like Diane are incredibly valuable. Together this group of donors has already saved the NHS tens of millions of pounds over the cost of keeping the recipients of their kidneys on dialysis treatment.”
Any healthy adult can volunteer to be assessed as a living donor and a kidney from a living donor is the very best treatment option for most patients with kidney diseases. The volunteer donor goes through a thorough assessment over several months to ensure they are fit and healthy and that the risk to them is as low as possible. If approved, they are matched with a suitable high priority recipient from the transplant waiting list, or they are entered into a sharing scheme which enables one non-directed donor to potentially ‘trigger’ up to three transplants.
Lisa Burnapp, Lead Nurse for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said, “Living donation is highly successful, and hundreds of people have had their lives saved and transformed, thanks to the generosity of these donors. Non-directed altruistic donors really are the game changers in the kidney sharing scheme. Particularly for the difficult to transplant patients, they make the world of difference.
“Living donation has been a major success story for the UK, with 1 in 3 patients receiving a kidney transplant from a living donor. The more non-directed altruistic donors we have starting a chain means up to three times as many patients could be offered the opportunity of a successful transplant.”
Living kidney donation has been taking place in the UK since the 1960s. It is a highly successful form of transplantation carried out at NHS hospitals and regulated by the Human Tissue Authority.
To register your wish to donate your organs after your death please visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk