A Banchory man is among 500 people who have generously donated one of his healthy kidneys to a stranger.
NHS Blood and Transplant revealed that 500 people in the UK have now donated a kidney to a stranger as a living donor in the 10 years since the law was changed to allow this.
Alan Wallet (66) who is retired, donated his kidney in 2015 in Oxford.
He said: “There are currently more than 5000 people waiting for a kidney in the UK and around 300 people die each year in need of one. I had two perfectly healthy ones and only needed one to live a full and normal life.
Donating a kidney was no big deal, I donated on a Thursday and cycled to church three days later on the Sunday!”
Any healthy adult can volunteer to be assessed as a living donor and a kidney from a living donor is the very best treatment option for most patients with kidney diseases.
The volunteer donor goes through a thorough assessment over several months to ensure they are fit and healthy and that the risk to them is as low as possible.
If approved, they are matched with a suitable recipient from the transplant waiting list, or they can also enter into a sharing scheme which enables one non-directed donor to potentially ‘trigger’ up to three transplants.
Bob Wiggins, chairman of charity Give a Kidney which raises awareness of non-directed kidney donation, said: “We’re encouraging everyone to consider if you could share your spare.
Many people still don’t know that any healthy adult can volunteer as a living donor. As a result of people like Alan, many hundreds of lives have been changed for the better.
“Not only that, but together this group has already saved the NHS tens of millions of pounds over the cost of keeping the recipients of their kidneys on dialysis treatment.”
Lisa Burnapp, lead nurse for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “Nearly three hundred people died waiting for a kidney transplant last year.
“Living donation is highly successful, and hundreds of people have had their lives saved and transformed in reaching this milestone over the past decade, thanks to the incredible generosity of these donors.
“Through donor chains, up to three people can benefit from a single donation because it can trigger a chain of transplants.
She added: “The more people who are willing to consider donating in this way, the more kidneys there are available to help everyone waiting for a transplant.”
Living kidney donation has been taking place in the UK since the 1960s.
It is a highly successful form of transplantation carried out at NHS hospitals and regulated by the Human Tissue Authority.
People wishing to consider giving the gift of a kidney to someone as a living donor can find out more information by visiting www.giveakidney.org.
You can also share your thoughts and stories and read others on social media using #ShareYourSpare
To register your wish to donate your organs after your death, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.