TWO Salisbury women have helped to save the lives of strangers by donating one of their kidneys.
Joanna Kozubska,67, and Tracey Joliffe,47, both donated one of their organs to help a desperately ill patient on the kidney transplant waiting list.
The charity which promotes organ donation, Give a Kidney is celebrating the 250th “altruistic” kidney donation in the UK and hopes that more people will consider making this lifesaving decision.
There are almost 6,000 people in Britain in need of a kidney transplant and more than 300 people a year die while they are waiting for a donor.
Mrs Kozubska from Berwick St Leonard donated her kidney in 2012.
“When it became legal to donate altruistically in the UK, I decided that this would be something I would like to do if I could,” she said.
“I forgot about it but in November 2011 I saw a TV programme about a woman who had been killed in a car crash – her organs had been donated and many people had benefited. I decided it was time to pursue the idea, saw my GP the following morning and had donated within six months. The whole experience was very positive. I was looked after brilliantly by the amazing NHS team and was up and about very quickly after the surgery.”
Kidney transplants have been taking place in the UK since 1960 and around 1000 living donor transplants take place each year.
The majority of these transplanted kidneys come from friends or relatives of the recipient. In 2006 the Human Tissue Act made it legal for strangers to donate a kidney to someone in need and the first altruistic kidney donation in the UK took place in 2007.
Mrs Joliffe, who works for Public Health England said: “I first heard about altruistic kidney donation through the press and thought it would be a positive thing to do. I mulled over it for some time before contacting the local transplant co-ordinator but from thereon in everyone involved in my experience was wonderful. If I had another spare kidney, I'd do it again.”
Dr Chris Burns-Cox, chairman of Give a Kidney said: “Humans only need one kidney to live a perfectly normal, healthy life, and so there are millions of people walking around with the potential to save a life in this way. The altruism of the growing number of people willing to offer such a special gift is wonderful, but there is still a long way to go before we make a real dent on the waiting list. We hope this news will encourage others to consider whether it is something they could do.”