Kidney disease sufferer leads organ donor drive

Scott Macdonald and his girlfriend Stephanie. Picture: comp
Scott Macdonald and his girlfriend Stephanie. Picture: comp
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HE was first put on dialysis when he was just ten days old – and underwent a kidney transplant on his tenth birthday.

But for the last decade, Scott MacDonald has been waiting desperately for the donation that would give him the freedom to live his life to the full.

I’d say to anyone not on the NHS Organ Donor Register to imagine a loved one going through something similar.

Scott MacDonald

The 27-year-old from Livingston is now leading a campaign urging Scots to give the greatest gift this Christmas – by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Scott, who works for the NHS, was born with Prune belly syndrome, a condition which led him to not having fully functioning kidneys.

He was on dialysis until he was two before undergoing a transplant at the age of ten after his father was found to be a suitable match.

However, the donor kidney rejected when Scott was in his fourth year of high school, and a subsequent car accident required blood transfusions which increased Scott’s antibody levels, meaning he now needs a 99.9 per cent match for any transplant to be successful.

The IT assistant attends St John’s Hospital to dialyse three times a week, whilst he waits for the call that could change his life.

Scott said: “The longer I’m on dialysis, the more I feel its effects. I’m exhausted at the end of the working week and trying to live a normal life is difficult.

“I have got used to it though because I’ve never been called, and never had any false alarms.

“I just get on with the here and now and remain hopeful that the transplant will come and change things.

“I want to work, have friends, go out at weekends and do what anyone else my age does, so I’ve learned to just get on with it.

“I’d say to anyone not on the NHS Organ Donor Register to imagine a loved one going through something similar. Or to imagine they were me.

“I don’t complain but the majority of my life is so restricted.

“I sit on a bed three nights a week doing dialysis, planning holidays is difficult, and if I have a night out at the weekend I need to take a Monday off to recover.

“Being free of illness is my ultimate goal.

“The freedom I would look forward to and the things I’d be able to do without feeling exhausted would just be amazing.”

Latest figures show that 3937 Scots have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register since December 1 last year.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “Everyone has it in them to save a life this Christmas.

“During the season of goodwill, taking two minutes to join the NHS Organ Donor Register has the potential to change the life of someone waiting.

“The reality is that if you’re not on the register, it’s less likely that your family will donate your organs. The message we want to get across is that the more people that register, the more lives that can be saved.”

• To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, log on to organdonationscotland.org.

newsen@edinburghnews.com