Join our mailing list

David’s Story

David is just an average Joe. A motorcycling, 54-year-old father and grandfather. And 6 years ago, he donated one of his kidneys to someone who needed it more than he did.

David’s Story

23 years ago, my sister was undergoing cancer treatment. I felt so helpless. I was told that she may have to have blood transfusions, so I started to give blood and joined the bone marrow donation list. I wanted to do something, to help those who couldn’t help themselves. 

50 donations later, I read a leaflet about living kidney donation whilst waiting to give blood. That was the first time I found out that it’s possible to put your kidney out there to be donated to the person who needs it the most (non-directed altruistic donation). For me, it was a no brainer. 

I got in touch with my local hospital and met with a living kidney donor coordinator. Over time I met everyone who would be involved in my donation – doctors, nurses, anaesthetists, and surgeons – and was encouraged to ask any questions I could think of. 

The thing that was instilled into me most of all was that my safety is the most important thing, during the whole process itself and for the rest of my life. There are a multitude of tests, and almost all of them are there to protect the donor. The only real test that isn’t, is the one that matches you up with a recipient. 

I was admitted to hospital the night before my operation. My operation was set for 8:30am, and I was allowed to eat up until midnight. My kidney was used in the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme and it started off a string of 3 donations. 

When it came to the day of my operation, I wasn’t nervous or worried. I was actually relaxed. At that point I knew exactly what to expect and I was with professionals that I’d met before and that I trusted. I went into the operating theatre with my donor coordinator, popped onto the bed and had a sleep. The operation took place, then my kidney was packed in ice, put in a cooler, and transported by ambulance to its new owner. 3 hours later, I woke up in the recovery room. 

My first thought when I opened my eyes was ‘that was a great sleep’! In fact, everything felt so normal that I had to check to see if the operation had really happened. I was given pain medication to use if I needed it, but I never ended up using it. I was certainly uncomfortable, but I didn’t have any real pain. 

I was out of bed and walking that evening and was able to have a shower before going to bed. My coordinator and surgeon came to see me to make sure I was recovering well, and the next day a couple of nurses took me outside for a walk in the sun. 

I was able to get home the day after my surgery and took things easy for the next couple of weeks. I was driving again soon after that, and back at work in 8 weeks. 

I don’t know who has received George the kidney (which is what I’ve named my donated kidney), however I do know that he is happily working in his new home. That’s all I really need to know. 

Before donating, I had never met anyone on the waiting list for a kidney. I had the ignorance of someone who just thought they had to go for dialysis and that was it, without appreciating what they were going through. In the months and years since my donation, I have learnt so much. For someone with kidney disease, receiving a kidney isn’t a cure – it’s a treatment that can last years or decades, but as my donor coordinator told me, ‘Most people would give almost anything for just a month without chronic kidney disease’. 

The person who received George the kidney is now allowed to eat and drink what they want. They can organise their life without having to spend four hours or more every other day on dialysis. They can have their freedom back. It cost me nothing but a little discomfort for a few weeks, but it allowed someone else to carry on living. Living donation for me was a no brainer, someone out there needed something that I had but didn’t need. There’s nothing else to it. 

My life hasn’t changed at all since my donation. Not one little bit. I still do everything that I used to – I’m still biking, I’m still doing the same job, my health is just the same. Nothing has changed other than I have a couple of little scars and an appointment every year to check my health. This was never about me! it was always about the recipient, whoever and wherever they may be. It was always about giving something to someone who needed it a break. 

I am certainly proud of myself for what I’ve done, but I’m nothing special. I’m not amazing or a hero. I’ve heard people say this about living donors a lot, but I’ve never known a donor who thinks they are. We just did something that needed doing. 

If I had the chance to be able to do it again, would I? I would do it without a second thought. My only disappointment is that I can only donate once. 

If anyone was thinking of becoming a live donor, my advice would be, do it! You’ll carry a warm feeling around with you for the rest of your life, something you can be proud of doing. There’s lots of support out there for potential living donors or people who want to learn more about what’s involved.  

Living donation isn’t for everyone, but it’s something that more people should know is an option. Your one action can improve the lives of someone struggling. Let your legacy be life. 

Related Stories

Ruby’s Story

Ruby’s Story

My donor gave me a life to live for. I have done things I had never considered doing whilst on dialysis.

Read
Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie’s Story

"If I had another kidney to spare, I would donate in a heartbeat.  It was life changing for my husband, and for me as a person."

Read
Cheryl’s Story

Cheryl’s Story

40 years ago, Kathleen donated one of her kidneys to Cheryl, who was just five years old at the time.

Read
Di’s Story

Di’s Story

"Giving a small part of me that I didn’t need to someone else would make little difference in my life, but a huge difference in theirs – it was an easy decision for me to make."

Read
Liz’s Story

Liz’s Story

Liz's family struggled at first with her determination to donate her kidney to someone unrelated to her.

Read
Shaun’s Story

Shaun’s Story

"I donated a kidney to my dad 10 years ago, aged 25. To me, it was a no brainer."

Read
Sarah’s Story

Sarah’s Story

Sarah had seen the life-changing difference donating a kidney could have, and immediately knew it was something she wanted to do.

Read
John’s story

John’s story

I would not feel as comfortable in my own skin as I do now if I had not donated my kidney.

Read
Sanjiv’s story

Sanjiv’s story

"Once the idea of donating a kidney had got into my head, that was it."

Read
Tracey’s Story

Tracey’s Story

Pete’s kidney gave me my life back and gave my son Edward a mum with energy and vitality.

Read

Ready to
Start Your
Journey?

Whether you’ve already decided to donate a kidney, or you are interested in finding out more about the process and what it involves, we’re here to answer any questions you might have.

GET IN TOUCH