This week Chris Burns-Cox talks to us about Give a Kidney, the charity he founded after his own amazing experience of donating a kidney.
“Six years ago I read in a newspaper that a GP from Surrey had given a kidney to a stranger as ‘it was the most useful thing I could do’,” says Chris. “I thought about this and in 2010 I followed his example at Southmead Hospital, the Bristol Transplant Unit.
“Three years later I received a message via the Transplant Coordinator from a man who wanted to celebrate the third birthday of his new kidney. He thought it was time he bought me a beer. (Very good it was too!) Before the transplant, he’d had 6 years of failing health on dialysis. He had been expecting to fade away. The transplant changed his life. He was now extremely fit.
“Later in 2010 I found other altruists – people who’d discovered that giving really is better than receiving – and together we formed Give a Kidney.”
There are over 5,000 UK patients with chronic kidney failure in need, sometimes desperate and up to 300 die every year for lack of a kidney.
Any healthy UK citizen can offer to give a kidney through the NHS to someone in dire need.
“Age is no barrier to donation. Last year a 85 year old lady from Preston decided she was fed up with knitting and watching the TV. She gave a kidney to a complete stranger via Liverpool Transplant Unit and was back home well very quickly.
“Even some people with chronic, severe illnesses have given a kidney as they wanted to do something useful with what was left of their lives. In Holland five people did this in one centre: two with Huntington’s disease, two with brain tumours and one with emphysema. All donated successfully and were so pleased they had done it.
How to give a kidney
Here we go. 3 easy steps:
- Look up the charity’s website to find out more.
- Contact your nearest transplant unit for a visit and chat with the Living Kidney Donor Coordinator.
- Do it. Whatever age and stage you’re at. You will never regret it and it may just be the best thing you ever do. 430 others have done and haven’t looked back.
Chris urges you: “Do something big and unselfish. It might save the life of another.”
Give a kidney facts
Each donation of a kidney to a stranger can enable and trigger two or three more kidney transplants – so 2 or 3 for the ‘price’ of one!
Each transplant that takes a person off kidney dialysis saves the NHS more than £20,000 a year.