For people with end-stage kidney failure, a transplant can be life changing. However, despite the fact kidney transplants increased in Scotland last year, more than 400 people are still in need.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service is proud to support Organ Donation Scotland’s living kidney donation awareness campaign, which will launch on 11 March and World Kidney Day on 14 March.
I can honestly say that giving a kidney is the best thing I have ever done in my life.
Grant Thomson, living kidney donor
Living kidney donor Grant Thomson first heard about altruistic kidney donation (when someone donates a kidney to someone unknown to them purely because they want to help) while listening to the radio. The show featured a woman whose partner had suffered from a number of illnesses including kidney failure, and had been unable to have a direct donation from a family member. After her husband passed away, she decided to become an altruistic donor herself.
The story struck a chord with Grant and stayed in his mind. After much thought, he came to the conclusion that he too wanted to help someone in need and altruistically donate one of his kidneys. He then got in touch with the Living Kidney Transplant Co-ordinator at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, who talked him through the process. Over the following months he underwent a series of medical tests, met with an independent body, and had discussions with a psychiatrist to make sure it was safe and appropriate for him to donate.
In general, kidneys from living donors last longer, leading to better outcomes for patients.
Jen Lumsdaine, living kidney transplant co-ordinator
'Following the surgery, I woke up a bit sore and groggy but other than that I felt well. I left hospital four days after and spent the next few days resting. In about two weeks, I was back to my normal life and within about two months, I was scuba diving in Malta. I can honestly say that giving a kidney is the best thing I have ever done in my life.'
Jen Lumsdaine, Living Kidney Transplant Co-ordinator, said:
'Everyone has different motivations for considering living kidney donation, but the thing that unites those who donate is the desire to help someone in need.
'I’ve seen firsthand the life changing difference it can make.
'In general, kidneys from living donors last longer, leading to better outcomes for patients.
'Of course, we recognise it isn’t for everyone, but raising awareness of the fact people can donate and go on to lead a completely normal life with one kidney is key to increasing donor rates and helping those for whom the wait continues.'