HIS job involves saving lives, but firefighter Stuart Vince did it in a different way.
When he found out family friend Mike Paxman, 19, needed a kidney transplant, he decided to get tested and see if he could help.
But what he didn’t realise was that he was the perfect match.
Earlier this year he became a lifesaver by donating his left kidney.
And he hopes this story will inspire more people to sign up to becoming organ donors.
Mike, 19, of Soberton, started developing problems in his kidney when he was five years old.
He said: ‘I got a virus when I was five and problems developed from that.
‘My kidneys would flare up each time the virus came back, and each time that happened my kidneys deteriorated.’
By the age of 15 Mike began to notice he would feel extreme fatigue.
‘I would get tired playing football and thought it was because I was unfit,’ added Mike.
‘But it was because I had low haemoglobin levels in my blood.’
In 2008 Mike started to have dialysis – a procedure, which removes excess water and waste from the blood – which is usually done by the kidney.
Mike would go to Southampton General Hospital three times a week for three-and-a-half-hour sessions of the procedure.
But he was not able to go onto the donor waiting list because of his low haemoglobin levels and so had dialysis for two years.
Last July Mike had his spleen removed, which helped his haemoglobin levels and was finally able to go on the waiting list.
On average people can wait up to two years to find a match, and sadly family members were not compatible.
Crew manager Stuart Vince, 35, of Cosham blue watch, heard of Mike’s plight and decided to get his blood tested.
After various tests, results found Stuart was a perfect match.
He said: ‘From my point of view it was a no-brainer. I have known Mike all my life and if I can live with one then I will give the other to someone else.’
The procedure took place in June this year and was successful.
Mike added: ‘Stuart is a lifesaver.
‘I can’t even describe what he has done for me.
‘You can live off having dialysis for a long time, but your life expectancy is a lot shorter than having a kidney.
‘So in that aspect he has saved my life. But he has also given me my life back because he has also given me time.
‘I don’t have to plan things around my dialysis and can eat more foods and have different drinks.
‘I wasn’t getting really excited about the operation until it happened.’
Stuart and fellow firefighter Philip Jackson will be taking part in a mega running and rowing challenge next year.
Plans for a huge charity fundraiser
TWO firefighters will be taking part in a huge physical challenge to encourage more people to become organ donors.
Crew manager Stuart Vince and firefighter Philip Jackson of Cosham blue watch will be running from Queen Alexandra Hospital, to Land’s End.
They will be running 26 miles every day for 11 days and will be stopping off at different fire stations along the way.
They will then spend six days rowing from Land’s End, back to Gunwharf Quays.
The pair hope to raise £20,000, which will be split between QA and Southampton General Hospital.
The challenge is due to start on May 22, next year.
Final plans are being made and a website is being developed for people to donate money and track the pair’s journey.
Stuart said: ‘We want to get more people to sign on to the donor register.’