Husband in appeal for more people to become living donors
A KIDNEY donor whose wife was saved after a vital transplant has called on people to become a living donor.
Christian Amodeo, 40, from Cardiff, who is behind the I Loves The ’Diff brand, knows first-hand how organ donation can transform quality of life.
His wife Helena, 39, was in dire need of a kidney transplant.
Mr Amodeo said: “When Helena’s health suddenly started spiralling downwards and towards certain kidney failure, the race was on to find her a suitable living donor for a new kidney. I was first in line to get tested for this, but unfortunately I wasn’t a strong enough match for Helena.
“That’s when we discovered the National Living Donor Kidney Sharing Scheme – where donated kidneys are shared anonymously with suitable matches from right across the UK. We were incredibly lucky to find two suitable donor matches, and Helena got the kidney transplant she so desperately needed in November 2015.
“Although my kidney was not a match for my wife, I still went ahead with surgery myself in order to donate one of my kidneys to someone else in Helena’s situation elsewhere in the UK.”
In Wales, 31 people became living donors in 2017-18 and about 1,100 living kidney transplants take place in the UK each year.
Kidneys are the most common organ donated by living people; however there are approximately 5,000 people waiting for a new kidney on the transplant list in the UK. A successful transplant from a living donor, rather than one from someone who has died, is the best treatment for most people with kidney failure.
This offers the recipient the best opportunity of success, as 82% of kidneys donated by a living donor will still be working after 10 years.
This compares with 75% for kidneys transplanted from deceased donors.
Other advantages include a reduced waiting time as transplants can take place sooner, when the intended recipient is healthier, aiding recovery.
There is also the possibility of avoiding dialysis altogether, increasing the recipient’s lifespan following a transplant.
Other organs that can be donated by a living person include part of a liver, a segment of a lung and part of the small bowel.
Mike Stephens, a consultant transplant and organ retrieval surgeon at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff has first-hand experience of how organ donation transforms lives.
He said: “Donating a kidney is a very personal decision and is not something everyone feels comfortable with. Only you can decide if it’s something you would like to volunteer to do.
“Healthy people who wish to help a loved one or a stranger with kidney disease may volunteer to give a kidney.
“Generally people who receive a kidney from a living donor live for longer than those who receive one from a deceased donor, and much longer than they would be expected to live if they did not receive a kidney transplant.
“Living kidney donation allows the operation to be planned at a time that is convenient for the recipient, donor and clinical team.”
Health Secretary Vaughan Gething added: “Living donation plays a vital role in saving and transforming lives, offering more patients with kidney failure, and other diseases, the possibility of a successful transplant.”
Helena Amodeo had a kidney transplant in 2015
Christian Amodeo is calling for more people to sign up as a living organ donor