MY RECIPIENT SAID IT’S A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE
Paul SIGSTON, 58, an intensive care consultant with Maidstone and tunbridge Wells NHS trust, lives in tunbridge Wells, Kent, with wife Katrina, 57, a retired nurse, and has four daughters aged between 28 and 19. He donated his kidney in June 2014. He says:
AFTER I had the operation I got a letter from the lady who had received my kidney.
She said her first grandchild had been born the same week and it was amazing that she had been given a second chance at life at the same time. It made it all seem very real to me — that my gift had changed someone’s life like that.
That is exactly why I wanted to do it.
I have been on the bone marrow donor list for 20 years so I have always thought that saving a stranger and going that extra mile for someone was a good thing to do.
Once I thought about donating my kidney, it became more a case of ‘why not?’. I spoke to my wife, Katrina, and the girls about it and they supported me. As for the risks, I knew they were far higher doing other things such as skiing down a mountain, which I do on holiday.
I had to find a direct match because I couldn’t take much time off as my role was very demanding. Kidney donations involving a chain are planned around lots of other people and take longer to organise — it can be weeks, compared with a direct match. It has not changed my life at all, I can still ski and sail.
I wish I was in further contact with the recipient in that I would like to know if it was working.
But in a way I like it to remain anonymous because I wouldn’t want to be seen as the big hero. That’s not why I did it.
■ To find out more about altruistic kidney donation contact your local transplant unit or go to: organdonation.nhs.uk/ become-a-living-donor/ donating-your-kidney/