Today we report several inspirational stories, none more so than those people who decided –some when they were in their 70s and 80s – that they would donate one of their kidneys to a stranger, in the hope that it would improve that person’s life.
Lesley Clayton, for example, says how donating a kidney ‘can change someone’s life’. Susanne Dadswell, meanwhile, says she hopes that the recipient of her kidney is ‘surfing on a beach someone’ – a lovely image. And Trish Bailey says simply: ‘I wanted to help someone while I was healthy enough to do it.’
All of the women, and Nicholas Crace, who set up the support group The Squeezed Oranges to help them and encourage others to donate, are truly wonderful people.
But it’s the words of another person mentioned in our report today, which is about Queen Alexandra Hospital’s role in helping the number of altruistic kidney donations reach 500 across the country, that really stands out.
Simon Bornhoft is on the other side of the fence. He has a condition that required a transplant, and today he describes what it was like to receive a new organ. He says it was life-changing, and ‘like getting a new set of batteries’. And as a windsurfing coach, he’s clearly a man who needs his batteries to be charged.
It’s his testimony that highlights why organ donation is so important, and provides a fitting platform to reissue a plea for everyone to sign up to help in some way.
Not everyone will feel mentally or physically strong enough to be an altruistic kidney donor, of course. But everyone can carry a donor card so that their body can help others in need after they have died. Many people can – and do – give blood, which we know is always in great need across the region.
The wonderful stories and selflessness shown today by our interviewees are a great reminder of what can be done to help fellow human beings, and why this should be celebrated and recognised. Let’s all be inspired, in our own way, to follow their admirable example.