IT’S ABOUT WANTING TO GIVE BACK TO THE NHS
RichaRd aRmitage, 34, a gP in Nottingham, donated his kidney in November last year. he says:
My MuM had a lot of surgery after being diagnosed with head and neck cancer three years ago, and part of me wanted to give something back to the NHS for all the care they gave her over two-and-ahalf years.
I gave my kidney as part of a chain and, because of that, three people are no longer needing dialysis, which will no longer be a financial burden on the NHS.
I had wanted to donate for a while, ever since reading an economics book by someone who had also set up the first kidneysharing schemes in the u.S. — it felt like a relatively small thing to do to generate a large amount of good.
As part of a chain, three people would be helped, so they would benefit much more from my kidney than I would miss it.
I first contacted the kidney donor team at City Hospital in Nottingham in 2019, but then Covid hit and my mum was also diagnosed with cancer.
I had not told my family about what I was intending to do because I did not want them to worry during what was already a worrying time.
My mum sadly passed away at the beginning of last year, and after that I got back in touch with the hospital.
My friends were worried about me, but they also knew that it was very much part of my nature. I went to Bangladesh in 2018 and Greece in 2019 to help out with their refugee crises, I have done medical volunteering in Zambia, and I have set up a charity called Volunteer Global Health.
Giving a stranger my kidney feels very much like part of that journey to help others without needing to get anything in return.
The surgery for the chain was done at three hospitals, so it was a lot to co-ordinate. (I was originally
due to have the surgery last April, but then I went to ukraine for two months to help set up mobile clinics in evacuee centres.)
While it has had a very low impact on me physically — a few scars are the only evidence — emotionally and mentally it has had a much bigger impact. I feel very satisfied that I have done something for others.