A FATHER has praised the care he received at the Queen Alexandra Hospital after donating a kidney to save the life of his son.
Geoff Tite, 29, started feeling unwell at the beginning of last year and, after undergoing tests in hospital, was diagnosed with kidney failure.
His dad Gary stepped in, and after doctors discovered they were a blood type match, donated one of his kidneys this summer.
The pair have shared their story to encourage more people to sign up to the national donation register, and to thank staff at the QA for their help,
On Wednesday The News launched its We Love QA campaign to celebrate the skill and dedication of the hospital’s staff.
Gary, 61, looked into becoming a donor for Geoff last year, along with his first wife and Geoff’s mother Jo.
He said: ‘It’s the blood type that counts, and mine was a match.
‘We both were willing and happy to do this for Geoff, but it was just random biology that chose me.’
Gary, who lives in Cheltenham, embarked on a series of tests, including chest X-rays and treadmill exercises to check if he was healthy enough for surgery.
The pair underwent the procedure in June at QA, chosen because it is the Wessex kidney centre which cares for renal and transplant patients in the south.
Gary said: ‘At the start of the process we saw a consultant who explained everything to us.
‘He spoke to the point, giving us the worst case scenarios as a donor which is pretty scary in itself.
‘To not be able to donate, after coming so far, that would have been awful.
‘I just felt so grateful to get this chance.’
Both had the operation this summer so they could attend Geoff’s brother Phil’s wedding last month.
Gary said: ‘We had nothing but the highest quality of care.
‘The staff also had consideration for our needs and were co-operative.
‘I told them that we needed to be in a fit state of health for Phil’s wedding, and they were able to fix appointment times so we could do that.’
To mark Organ Donation Week, which runs until Sunday, Gary also urged others to sign up to the national register.
He said: ‘There is a very low take-up of people currently donating and it is important, particularly in the case of kidney donation, which is my area of interest.’
Consultant surgeon Keith Graetz, who performed the surgery, said: ‘As a father as well, I can understand Gary’s motivation for doing this fully as it is what I would do in the same scenario.’