Caring 77-year-old shares her selfless organ donation story
Selfless organ donor Celia loves going out on the water
Submitted by Celia Kent
During Organ Donation Week, which runs from Monday September 20 to Sunday September 26, and as part of our #ShareYourSpare campaign, InYourArea and the Give a Kidney organ donation advocates introduce you to amazing people who put their lives on hold to become selfless, life-saving organ donors.
The latest statistics shared by the NHS Blood and Transplant show that at the end of March 2021 there were 3,365 active patients on the kidney transplant list, with 883 more patients awaiting other organs, including the heart, the lungs and liver, bringing the total number of individuals on the waiting list for organ donation to 4,248.
Today Celia Kent from north London, a selfless 77-year-old kidney donor and water ski enthusiast, shares her story:
I was an active 70-year-old when I decided, after reading a newspaper article, to take this step. And I’m glad – it’s not too strong a word – that I did.
I contacted the Royal Free Hospital in Camden, London where I had an initial conversation with a live donor nurse who told me she thought I was a likely candidate.
I asked tentatively if my age was a barrier. “Oh no,” she said, “our oldest donor to date was 83 years old. ”
Naturally, there were sets of tests that I found quite interesting: blood and urine, of course, heart checks and MRIs. The latter is essential to verify that I had a kidney to spare. Some people go through life with just one and usually don’t know it.
I was delighted to see that my health was there. A conversation with a psychologist established that I was sane enough to take this step and another interview confirmed that I was neither paid nor coerced – both illegal.
We talked about dates. I might be retired, but I wasn’t sitting at home with my knitting on waiting for the roll call.
Final health checks were needed to identify a recipient I matched blood type, tissue type, and whose antibodies would not reject my organ. They found someone in the West Country who I learned had been on dialysis for ten years.
Ten years of exhaustion, relentless thirst (dialysis patients must minimize their fluid intake), restrictions and hospital visits.
I was in the Royal Free for four days after the operation, feeling a little stunned by the general anesthesia, but greatly supported by a lovely patient on the ward, herself a kidney recipient, who returned me proud of what I have done. d done. Her mother brought me a box of “Heroes” chocolates. Tears everywhere.
The recovery would be six weeks, the surgeon had said, and he was right. I now have the satisfaction of having been able to help someone who urgently needed it. And I’m in great shape: going to the gym, walking, biking, skiing, even waterskiing and surfing.
A lot of people have said they can do it for a family member, but not for a stranger and I appreciate that feeling. But everyone who needs a kidney has the same issues and hopes and I’m sure we would all like to think someone would help us if kidney failure were to threaten our lives.
Are you a healthcare professional working with patients with kidney disease? Would you like to share how your role is making a positive difference in the lives of patients and donors? Or are you a donor or a beneficiary? To share your story on InYourArea, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more information on Donate a Kidney, follow them on Twitter or to find out more visit NHS Organ Donation here.