Inspired by a close friend’s sudden illness, Jacqui Robins from Rhiwbina in Cardiff, decided to become an altruistic kidney donor.
Altruistic organ donation is where a living healthy person donates an organ, such as a kidney, to an unknown patient waiting for a transplant.
“When a close family friend was rushed into hospital with kidney stone complications, the prospect of a kidney transplant became all too real,” Jacqui says. “Thankfully, the doctors were able to treat my friend successfully without the need for lengthy dialysis and a long wait for a transplant. But the graveness of his situation made me appreciate just how many other people like him are out there waiting for a kidney donor match and that life-saving transplant operation. I was determined to put one of my two healthy kidneys to better use and that’s what led me into researching and ultimately taking the decision to become an altruistic kidney donor.
“I made an appointment at my local transplant hospital in Cardiff. The transplant co-ordinator took me through the process and reassured me that I could change my mind at any point in the procedure – right up until the day prior to my surgery. I had a full MOT to make sure that I was well with two good kidneys ensuring I would be fine if I chose to donate one. This included a series of blood tests to confirm my suitability to become a living kidney donor and identify a suitable match. With a match found, I had a very straight forward operation to remove one of my kidneys in May 2014 and was back on my feet within a week. My husband and three grown up children were all incredibly supportive throughout and kept a close eye on me to make sure that I stuck to the 12 week resting period stipulated for a full recovery.
“Donating a kidney to improve the life of another is so rewarding for all parties involved. Altruistic organ donation is completely anonymous, patient and recipient never meet, but I hope that through telling my story I can encourage others to follow my lead and give the gift of a full and enjoyable life to someone in need.”