WATCHING his wife anxiously wait for a kidney transplant convinced Michael Williams to volunteer for a pioneering scheme.
Michael (55) decided to become a ‘living donor’ to help wife Susan – signing up for a kidney swap.
He told the Herald: “Susan was diagnosed with kidney disease nearly 20 years ago and started having dialysis about five years ago.
“It took five hours a night, three times a week. It completely took over our lives.
“I was trained how to do it and we had the equipment put in our garden shed. We would both be working 12 hour days then coming home to sit in the shed for five hours. Basically it felt like we were both on the machine.”
Susan was placed on the organ transplant waiting list, but Michael decided that he could not wait for a suitable kidney to become available.
He said: “I was tested, but my kidney wasn’t a match.
“However, I convinced the doctors to put me on the pairing system in March last year. It means you can ‘swap’ kidneys with other people who are a match for your loved one.
“We got a match straight away, so my kidney went to Northern Ireland, a kidney came from Northern Ireland to Bristol and then a kidney from Bristol was given to Susan. There were helicopters and motorbikes travelling all across the UK with the kidneys to carry out the three transplants”
The operations, at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary on July 22 last year, were a complete success and six months on both were able to return to work.
Michael said: “It’s made a 100 per cent difference to our lives.”
In recent weeks the Herald has been running a campaign to get readers to sign up to the Organ Donor Register - allowing their organs and tissue to be used to save lives in the event of their death.
Tragically, only around 30 per cent of people are currently signed up, meaning those needing a vital transplant operation can be left waiting for years.
Signing up for the register is easy - just go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 1232323, or text ‘SAVE’ to 84118.
* Have you got a comment or a story? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Or alternatively you can call the newsdesk 0141 775 0040.