Over the last 40 years I have donated blood and latterly plasma and platelets, with large breaks in the donations, due to family situations, in May I reached my 100th donation. In 1997 I became a Freemason and I believe that in the various Lodges and Orders that I have joined, the message has been on the whole, about learning about oneself and trying to do the right thing. At some stage I believe that we all need to step up and to try to make a difference.
About 18 months ago I became aware that other than blood products, there are 3 things that we can safely donate while we are alive, bone marrow, a part of your liver or a kidney. Every year there are approximately 1000 people who offer to donate 1 of these 3 in the UK, this is usually to a family friend or loved one. In the Bristol Renal Centre alone, there are over 550 people who are waiting for a Kidney transplant. Most people have to wait to receive a donation from a deceased donor. Many people will die while waiting for a donation. In my mind, I have 2 kidneys, but I can survive quite happily with 1 and maybe it was time to make a difference. In August 2019 I started testing, which included a full psychological assessment, which I somehow passed. I had to undergo various types of blood tests and scans and then in January 2020 I was passed by the Human Tissue Authority to be a living Donor. I was then added to the end of January quarterly matching run and matched with a Recipient from the list, who needed my help. From that moment forward, I felt that the kidney no longer belonged to me and I just needed to look after it. I was due to undergo surgery on 30th March, but as everyone will know, a week before surgery we went into lockdown. I then started a long wait to see what might happen. On 15th July I received a call from my Donor Coordinator asking if I was able to attend to donate some final samples on Monday 20th and then from 21st to start shielding, with a view to donate my left kidney on Tuesday 4th August. On Tuesday 4th I arrived at Southmead Hospital for 7.00am as requested and was in surgery by 8.45am. The surgery was scheduled to be 3-4 hours, unfortunately things weren’t as straight forward as I might have hoped and I finally left the theatre after 6 1/2 hours. My kidney was taken to the Recipient and she received it somewhere in the Uk that evening. I have since been told that the kidney is working well and the lady is progressing nicely. I can not explain how amazing it feels for me to know that my kidney is somewhere in the country, helping a lady to get on with her life in a much better way than she previously was. The pain and discomfort is short lived, compared to the stress and struggles that the lady was enduring whilst having to go through Dialysis. I just hope and pray that more people will come forward and try to make a difference.
I don’t really know what else to say, I am still taking each day as it comes and building my strength. I met the surgeon 10 days ago and he said that it may take months for me to get back to full fitness, but that’s ok, it still feels quite emotional when I think about it and I’m sure it will for some while. I feel very privileged and honoured to have had the chance to do this. I will have annual checks for the rest of my life to make sure everything is functioning properly.
Peter Doust, Antiquity Chapter No.95