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Altruistic Kidney Donors

12 Altruistic Kidney Donors on the Donor Panel

A new charity has been launched 
“Give a Kidney – one’s enough”.
Dr. Chris Burns-Cox, a kidney donor himself, thought it would be a good idea to have a charity which would help promote altruistic kidney donation and also offer support to anyone who wishes to offer their kidney.

300 people a year die in the UK waiting for a kidney transplant and another 6,500 suffer the miseries of kidney failure while they are on the waiting list.

So far 88 people have found this unnacceptable and have given one of their kidneys to a total stranger.

I am one of those people and am also very honoured to be a part of the charity Give a Kidney – one’s enough and am on a panel of donors who, if asked by a potential donor, can speak with them to tell them what it was like being a donor.

To read a donor perspective of altruistic donation then please use the links on the left of this page starting with “Kidney Donation – Evaluation Begins“.

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36 Responses to “New UK charity launches to promote altruistic kidney donation”

  • steven warner:

    we should be doing all we can to support the efforts of these people

  • Simon Swailes:

    I am one of the 88! Can I help out at all?
    Let me know if I can.

    Simon

  • Diane:

    Hi Simon,
    I am sure you can. I will be in touch with you, or someone will from the charity.
    Thank you for posting
    All the best
    Di Franks
    x

  • Amy:

    I’ve just heard about this in the news. What a great charity. Luckily I am not affected by this personally but what a fantastic selfless thing to do. Thank you for raising awareness. I will be researching more so that I am able to make an informed decision about this. As a healthy woman and mum to 3 under 5′s it is definitely something I would do. However, I would like to know more about the surgery, recovery and health implications for the future (if any).

  • Diane:

    Hi Amy,
    Yes it is a great charity and hopefully people who are wondering about altruistic donation will be able to find information and the help and support they need.

    Your questions should be answered by going to the charity page, also a donor perspective by reading this blog you are on now. The links on the left indicate the different stages of donation process.

    Thanks for posting
    All the best
    Di Franks

  • Diane:

    Hi Amy,
    I meant to add that if you wish to ask me directly any questions then please use the contact link (top right of this page)to let me know your email and I can then respond on a more personal level if you wish.

    Thanks
    Di
    x

  • Robyn Hall:

    I was listeneing to bbc radio 2 today and have just found out about this organisation – give a kidney – one’s enough.
    I have 3 kidneys that are all functioning quite normally, this is apparently not uncommon and perhaps when needing exrays or scans you could check it out and be surprised to find you have 3. I know before this, you couldnt donate a kidney if you were alive unless it was to your immediate family. I am so happy to hear about this as I have lost 2 friends with kidney failure and my mom.
    I too, like Amy would like to find out more about the surgery and other implications.
    Having a bonus like I have, I would love to share.
    Regards
    Robyn

  • Diane:

    Hi Robyn,
    Wow three kidneys. Actually a friend of mine had three kidneys, so no, can’t be that uncommon, though I thought it was. Fancy you could give away one and still have 2 left!!! How great is that.

    Okay I am going to forward your details onto the charity and they will respond directly to you. In the meantime, please read this website, the links on the left detail the whole process from a donors (my) perspective. Taking you through the evaluation, operation and recovery. You will also read how I felt throughout and the frustrations I came up against. It is a frank and honest account that is worth reading. I would add though, that not all transplant units are the same i.e. they might do different evaluation tests or in different order or??? but you will get a really good idea of the whole process. There are also some blogs at the top of the page (well links to) and peoples comments on my posts are also informative as you will read how other people feel about the donation they have or want to make.

    Also read the charity website http://www.giveakidney.org that will give you tons of information, all of which is worth going through.

    I will pass your details on and you will hear back from someone and you can take it from there.

    Don’t hesitate to post back if you think of anything. We are just one big happy family here all willing and wanting to help where we can.

    Best wishes
    Di Franks
    xx

  • Lynette Webber:

    I was listening to the Jeremy Vine BBC2 radio show and heard about this. What a fantastic idea to help others who are struggling with everyday living. I am 52 and if I am not too old I would donate in a heart-beat so please let me know how I can help.

  • Diane:

    Hi Lynette,
    Thank you so much for making contact. I can certainly say that donating my kidney last year was the very best thing I have ever done, and would do it again if I had another spare!

    You are certainly not too old. I was 58 years old when I donated and a bit of a spring chicken compared to the oldest UK altruistic donor who was 82 years old!! It is all about your health.

    Suggest you read this blog. Links on the top left will guide you through the donor perspective of the evauation, operation, recovery etc. Other pages will also be informative. The charity website http://www.giveakidney.org is full of superb information, so a good read up of that and by the end you will be an expert! lol … seriously though, its fantastic you want to donate, the above information should tell you quite a lot. If you have any questions after that let me know and can either answer or pass you over to someone who can.

    All the best
    Di Franks
    x

  • Leanne:

    Reading the story on Sky News yesterday morning was great to see.
    My husband suffered sudden chronic kidney failure in August this year at the age of 29. He began immediate dialysis and we have adjusted our lives very quickly to cope with this. Kidney transplant will not be an option for at least 12 months but just looking at the blog posts, i know they will be a great to help to us, our friends, family and now complete strangers that may want to give the greatest gift that we could ever imagine.

  • Diane:

    Hi Leanne,
    What a shock for your husband and for you all for him to suddenly get ill like that, and at such a young age. That just goes to show it can happen at any time and age.

    I so hope this blog and the charity website can give lots of good information and when the time comes for your husband to have a transplant full information is available.

    If you don’t mind, could I please ask a question. Why does your husband have to wait a year? I have heard of some people going straight into a transplant and not even onto dialysis.

    Best wishes to you all,
    Di
    x

  • I gave one of my kidneys to a stranger over two years ago and would be keen to support any moves to encourage others to do this because I am so shocked by the miserable existence of so many on dialysis. What are you planning and can I help? John Fletcher, Auchtermuchty, Scotland.

  • Diane:

    Hi John,
    That is so wonderful!

    I will be in touch with details for you.

    All the best
    Di

  • Jon Jowett:

    Hi Diane. Inspired by your “The Choice” interview, I am part way through the evaluation process to follow in your footsteps and would like to join the charity to attempt to encourage as many people as possible to become living donors. Best Regards Jon

  • Diane:

    Hi Jon,
    So delighted you were inspired by The Choice. I have had so much great feedback from that and several people, like yourself, have been inspired to put themselves forward to donate. Fantastic.

    I have forwarded your details to the charity and someone will get back to you as to how you can help.

    Thanks for posting. Let us know how you get on with your evaluation.

    All the best
    Di
    x

  • Serena:

    Hi Di,
    I have been reading the publicity about the new charity. What a great organisation and am so proud you are part of it. For anyone reading Di was my supporter throughout my evaluation and kidney donation. She also helped my family understand the whole process and became good friend to us all especially my little sister, the two of them even now get on so well. It was so good to be able to just chat to Di and know she understood the emotions we were all going through and to be there for us. I was in touch with a couple of donors but it was Di who I felt really understood and could empathise with the whole family. Di really cared about us and would contact me out the blue just to say hello and ask how we were doing. She always had time for us and always made us feel welcome to contact her. She would sense when I was concerned about something and always managed to put my mind at rest. She is an amazing person who truly cares about her fellow human beings. I am sure other members on the Charity are just as caring and I encourage people thinking of becoming a donor to contact the charity or to contact Di and they will get all the support they need as and when.

    Di – thank you for all you have done for me and my family and thank you for everything you do. Remember the chat we had about how the path your life took appeared to be downhill, only for you to find the beacon at the end. Keep that beacon burning as it was that light that drew me to you for support.

    I know you authorise posts on your blog. You had better allow this one to go through even though I know you will be red faced reading it. It is my little way to say thank you by letting people know just how kind and generous you were with your help for us, which continues now way after donation.

    You are indeed one of God’s little Angels.

    Love ya Di!
    Serena
    xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Diane:

    Hi Serena,
    Ummm …. I am not sure what to say, except thank you. Yes my face is red and I feel hugely embarassed. I want to go and hide now for a while!! lol.

    Take care .. will be in touch later.
    Luv Di
    xx

  • Jones:

    Hi i have been doing some research. On people that donates kidney if it affects them or not i would love to help save someone’s life by donating a kidney but i need lecture on the side effects to me if i get a reply i will appreciate it thank ??you

  • Diane:

    Hello Jones,
    How wonderful of you to want to donate your kidney.
    Yes there are risks, there are with any operation. One has to remember though that the hospital team that will evaluate you will make sure you are in the very best of health to donate and will only allow you to donate if all is okay.

    With the operation donors are at risk of infections (eg chest, wound or urine) and, more rarely, bleeding or blood clots. There is a very small risk of death for the donor: this is estimated at 1:3000 for this operation. Compare that to 1:1000 for a hip replacement operation and the risks are indeed small. you are watched very closely during and after the operation. You are monitored with machines and nurses regularly check in on you. The risks are minimal but they do exist.

    Are there any long-term risks?
    There is a small possibility of a slight rise in blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. However studies have shown that there is no long-term effect on the health of the donor or your remaining kidney.

    Recovery is different for people, some have discomfort opposed to pain, others have sharp pain in the incision area but is controllable with pain meds. There is tiredness and some can feel a bit down.

    So far all donors I have spoken to have said they would willingly donate again.

    Hope that helps. Suggest you go through this blog especially reading peoples comments as quite a few have chatted about their recovery and how it all was for them.

    If you want to know anything else please just post again.

    Thank you,
    Di
    x

  • Robin:

    Hi,

    I am interested in being a donor but I had a DVT in my shoulder last year. I have been fully discharged; but was told that if I had an operation there was a slighly increased risk of a further blood clot. Would this preclude me from being a donor.

    Robin.

  • Diane:

    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for posting. I really have no idea on that one. But I will pass your query on to someone connected with the medical side of donation, and they will get back to you.

    Brilliant to hear that you are interested in being a donor, though … fingers crossed!!
    Di

  • Susan:

    Hi,

    This is such a good informative website and I wish you every success with it. Unfortunately my own health is rather rubbish but I am the very proud niece of one of the ’88′ who happens to be in the photo above and I do spread the word to anyone who’ll listen. I have been shocked by the number of medical people who are still unaware that altruistic donation is even possible, let alone that it happens, but they are being informed!

    Good luck and I hope you manage to find enough donors so that eventually the waiting list is made up of people waiting to donate as soon as the need arises – wouldn’t that be good?

    Susan

  • Diane:

    Hi Susan,
    I bet you are a proud niece!! It is still a subject that is unknown to many, though you would expect medical people to be aware even if they don’t know much about it.

    Thanks for posting and each year so far since donating to a stranger has been possible the number of donors has dramatically increased and I am sure will continue to do so.
    Best wishes
    Di
    x

  • Pam Dickinson:

    Think it is wonderful that people will donate to a stranger. I myself have been waiting for 12 years and non of my family can donate. I have now been suspended from the transplant list as I now need a heart bypass because of the dialysis. Keep up the good work.

  • Diane:

    Hi Pam,
    I can hardly imagine what it must be like to have waited 12 years and then to be suspended etc. I am so sorry. Gosh if only people realised that being on dialysis is not fun and not a permanent solution! ….. I wish you all the best Pam and Pray that you get the transplants you need soon.

    All the very best,
    Di
    x

  • Brian:

    HiSusan,

    I can certainly testify that “one’s enough.”

    I donated a kidney to my wife Joan in September 2007. I was lucky to be able to have semi keyhole surgery. I went into hospital on Sunday evening, the operations took place on Monday and I was back home on Wednesday. In terms of pain, I’ve had far more pain when having a tooth extracted. My recovery was remarlably quick, about 4 weeks. I feel exactly the same in terms of health and what I can do after the operation as I did before. The most remarkable thing by a million miles though was the difference it made to my wife. She’d been on dialysis for a year. Having to attend the dialysis unit on 3 days a week changes homelife completely.

    Whilst attending a clinic appointment with my wife prior to the operation I met a lady who had donated to her brother. She said “If I had 6 kidneys I’d give 5 away”. I would certainly go along with her.

    In terms of risk, we are all far more at risk in our everyday lives when travelling on the roads.

  • John Wright:

    I donated in June 2010 and would like to know if there is anything I can do to help your charity

  • Diane:

    Hi John,
    I have forwarded your details on and someone will be in touch.
    thanks for posting and offering help.
    Best Regards
    Di

  • Philippa James:

    I was an altruistic kidney donor in September this year and my daughter in June last year in New Zealand. If I can be of any help, anyone wants to talk about my experience, I am ready to answer questions.

  • Justine:

    My fiancé was recently diagnosed with acute kidney failure. we were shocked with the diagnosis after he had a brief illness. He is currently undergoing dialysis 3x per week as we try to put our lives back together. Ironically, I just happened to be watching the Today show this morning and read your story !!!! It gives me hope that miracles are possible!!!!

  • angela:

    I wish I was able to donate a kidney but found out a few years ago that I have a horseshoe kidney. They work the same and the only thing I can’t do is donate since they are attached.

  • Diane:

    Justine,
    Yes that must have been a huge shock for you and the whole new lifestyle must be hard to get used to. Total change around for you both. I hope your fiance is coping with the dialysis.

    Yes MIRACLES are possible, not only that but they do happen.

    All the best
    Di
    x

  • Diane:

    Hi Angela,
    I have heard of horseshoe kidneys before and read about them but never met anyone with one!! Yes, shame you cannot donate but I am glad you have no problems with the kidney. I must read up more on it.

    There is so much more that people can do though such as donate blood, blood platelets, bone marrow and of course help promote the siging of the organ donor register and also make people aware of live donation.

    Sorry you couldn’t donate, but you wanted to and that is fantastic.

    Best wishes
    Di
    x

  • mesulamu derrick:

    i want to donate a kidney to save life , help me do this

  • Diane:

    Hello Mesulamu,
    You need to contact your nearest Transplant Center and speak with them. They can advise you on how to proceed with donating a kidney.

    Thank you for wanting to do this and I wish you every success.
    All the best
    Di

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