Edinburgh woman Pam Dippie has been hailed as one of the UK’s first 500 people to donate a kidney to a stranger.
NHS Blood and Transplant revealed today that 500 people in the UK have now donated a kidney to a stranger as a living donor in the ten years since the law was changed. Among the 500 generous donors is a Pam Dippie, 65, who took part in what is known as non-directed (altruistic) living kidney donation.
Pam, who donated her kidney in 2013 at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, said: “Physically I’m completely back to normal. I have to look at my small scars to remind myself that I ever had the operation.
“I know that donating my kidney to a stranger was by far the best thing I have ever done or will ever do in my life. It really has been the most enriching experience and would encourage anyone who may be thinking of doing the same thing to go for it! As many other altruistic donors say, if I had another kidney to spare, I would do the same again without any hesitation.”
Any healthy adult can volunteer to be assessed as a living donor and a kidney from a living donor is the very best treatment option for most patients with kidney diseases. The volunteer donor goes through a thorough assessment over several months to ensure they are fit and healthy and that the risk to them is as low as possible. If approved, they are matched with a suitable recipient from the transplant waiting list, or they can also enter into a sharing scheme which enables one non-directed donor to potentially ‘trigger’ up to three transplants.
Bob Wiggins, chair of charity Give a Kidney, which raises awareness of non-directed kidney donation said: “We’re encouraging everyone to consider if you could share your spare. Many people still don’t know that any healthy adult can volunteer as a living donor. As a result of people like Pam, many hundreds of lives have been changed for the better. Not only that, but together this group has already saved the NHS tens of millions of pounds over the cost of keeping the recipients of their kidneys on dialysis treatment.”
Lisa Burnapp, Lead Nurse for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Nearly 300 people died waiting for a kidney transplant last year.
“Living donation is highly successful, and hundreds of people have had their lives saved and transformed in reaching this milestone over the past decade, thanks to the incredible generosity of these donors. Through donor chains, up to three people can benefit from a single donation because it can trigger a chain of transplants. The more people who are willing to consider donating in this way, the more kidneys there are available to help everyone waiting for a transplant.”
Fnd out more at www.giveakidney.org #ShareYourSpare. To register your wish to donate your organs after your death please visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk