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Would you make an immediate decision to donate a kidney to a stranger?
Siri Nelson, 63, a chartered accountant, did just that. She ran her own business and had an active life, with little spare time for volunteer work.
What motivated her? “I was at a point in my life where I was really happy. Business was going really well. I thought I was doing really well but it would be nice if I could help someone.”
“I was listening to Jeremy Vine [على راديو بي بي سي 2] One day he was talking to someone who had done the same thing, and I thought that was something I could do.”
Each year, around 1,000 people in the UK choose to donate a kidney, in the vast majority of cases to a family member or friend. However, most donations remain postmortem, with just over 2,800 total adult transplants in the UK in 2021-22.
Only 68 of all transplants came from undirected living donors, as these donors are now called altruistic, meaning they don’t know who will receive their organs.
On the same day she heard the broadcast, Siri, from Porthcawl in Bridgend, called the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, putting her in touch with the transplant team.
She said she did a lot of testing, and the team was “very meticulous” and didn’t want her to put herself in danger.
After nearly six months of “very intense” physical and psychological testing, Siri donated her kidney in the summer of 2017.
“I think I only got two or three weeks off work. I did in July and I think I went back to the gym in September. It didn’t have any long-term effect on me at all. I go back every year for exams.” To make sure that the remaining kidney is working, but everything is fine.”
“It made me happy to help.”
After seeing kidney patients before and after their transplant, she said, “I was so happy to be able to help someone and give them an improved quality of life at a time when it had such a minimal impact on my life.”
She admits that her adult daughters were not happy with her decision and tried to dissuade her. They argued, “What if they need a kidney?” I said, “Well, you have each other. you have a father If you need one, I’m sure you’ll get one somewhere.”
“I’ve never had any regrets and I feel proud that I was able to help someone. I was 57 when I did it so I wasn’t young and apart from the very short term, it had no effect on me at all.”
She believes that people who think positively are more likely to donate, adding: “I am a person who looks at the glass half full and people will not think about donating.” [إذا لم يكونوا كذلك]. It’s not that there’s anything to worry about, but it clearly helps the process.”
“Once I make up my mind, I get impulsive and sometimes I don’t think things through properly, but I had no concerns because the test was so comprehensive,” she said.
Her only disappointment was that she had no contact with the recipient. All she knows is his name, that he is English, and that after the operation he was “urinating a lot, which means it was a success”.-
“So I hope he’s out there somewhere and he’s still in good shape,” she added.-
“I wish it was I can donate another kidney.”
Jackie Robbins never considered donating before her boyfriend became seriously ill with untreated kidney stones and doctors said he would need a transplant.
Like Siri, you describe a specialist [الفصد] The 76-year-old pensioner from Cardiff describes herself as a completely spontaneous and optimistic person, and decided she would volunteer to be his donor.
However, his condition improved and he did not need a transplant. But by this time she had received information about the operation, which made her think.
“When I read it all, I thought, ‘Why don’t I go further? See if I can donate a kidney to someone. And that’s how it all began,'” she said.
“It seemed simple to do,” she added.
After being matched with an unknown recipient, she underwent the operation in May 2014.
At first, all communications between Jackie and her recipient were carefully controlled and kept anonymous, but this eased over time.
“About a year or two later, I was able to send a card and sign it as Jackie, and in return the recipient would sign Wayne. Then it evolved a bit and we could talk about family life, and then about three years ago, they said if you’re interested, your recipient likes Talking to you, he would love to meet you.”
Wayne and his wife, Linda, traveled to Cardiff and took Jackie and her husband, Roger, for afternoon tea.
“It was like meeting an old friend. Even though I had never seen him or me before.
“There were hugs and some tears, especially from him,” Jackie said.
“It gave him life. He was in very poor health and was in desperate stages waiting, basically I gave him nine or 10 years and he was told he had to get a lot more than that.”
Despite her donation at the age of 67, Jackie said the operation and living with one kidney had not had the slightest impact on her health.
“I didn’t feel any pain from the surgery. I just wish I had another kidney to give, because it was that easy,” she added.