Hus­band in ap­peal for more peo­ple to be­come liv­ing donors

South Wales Echo - - NEWS - WILL HAY­WARD Re­porter will.hay­ward@waleson­

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

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