I can’t quite remember when I started thinking about donating my kidney; it was probably some 10 years ago. From when I first became aware of the possibility I remember thinking, wow wouldn’t that be an awesome thing to do. I have always been a healthy person and believed that I could do it.
I lost a close friend to a brain tumour over ten years ago and I promised myself I would do something in honour of him. Well, time passed by and life got in the way and I did nothing. Then 2 years ago I lost another close friend, this time to cancer, and I said to myself that I had to stop wasting time. There was nothing I could have done for Joshua’s brain tumour or Craig’s cancer, but I could give someone a better life or even save their life with the gift of my kidney. I would do this in honour of my friends.
It took some time to find the most compatible recipient and when the time came I was very excited. I was admitted to hospital on the Tuesday, I awoke in the early hours of Wednesday morning thinking to myself this is the most rewarding day of my life.
The transplant was a success, the recipient’s body accepted my kidney and I was told that they were doing really well.
I came home on the Saturday. Early the following morning I was in excruciating pain and went back to hospital to find that there had been a complication. I had to be opened up again and have the situation rectified. The doctor told me the morning after the second surgery that if they hadn’t gone back in that night I could have been knocking on heaven’s door this morning. I have to admit, that shook me up. I had never felt so unwell in all my life. I lost 10kg, which some people would probably think is not a bad thing, but I normally weigh 78kg and I am 6ft tall, so not so good for me.
Whilst I was lying in hospital feeling like was going to die, I must admit for the first time I can remember I started to question some of the beliefs I had held for so many years.
I was released from hospital a week later and started my recovery. A couple weeks later I received a card from the recipient anonymously through the hospital, and whilst I still don’t know the age or gender of the person, they were so grateful for the new life they had been given. Any question of my believes left in that instant. It was such a wonderful rewarding experience to realise that I had been able to make a difference to someone else’s life in such a way.
My wife Karen and I recently had the honour of attending a thanksgiving service where we heard many stories from people who had been given a new life because someone else had given them the chance. On the other side we heard from families of deceased donors who had been able to find some joy in the sadness of death when their passed loved ones were able to give life to someone else. – Gordon 😀