Young organ donation recipients urge others to save a life and join register
TWO young men were given the ultimate gift — of life — thanks to the brave decision made by anonymous organ donors.
Now the grateful recipients are urging people to give the same gift this Christmas by signing up for the Organ Donor Register (ODR).
Adam Bhaiji and James Colbeck have both had kidney transplants — and are looking ahead to a bright future.
Their appeal for people to sign up to become organ donors comes ahead of the British Transplant Games which are set to take place in Bolton next summer.
Brave Adam, aged 17, had suffered from serious kidney problems all his life.
He spent three years on the transplant waiting list — but in March the call the Canon Slade pupil’s family had been desperately praying for finally came.
A donor match had been found.
The family went straight to hospital and Adam underwent surgery the following day — March 20.
After recovering at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Adam, from Astley Bridge, is now back at school completing his A-levels and is looking forward to studying Mechanical Engineering at university.
He said: “When I first got the call I couldn’t quite believe it, I just thought — is this really happening? I’d been waiting for so long I couldn’t quite believe it was real.
“You do feel a mixture of emotions at first because it is such an amazing step for the donor and their family to take.
“The message I would send out to people is simple. If you sign up to the register, you are potentially giving someone the gift of life and that is amazing.
“You are changing someone’s life for ever and the impact is not just on that person but on their whole family.”
Adam started dialysis in April, 2010, after losing weight — a telltale sign of kidney failure — when he went into renal failure.
The A-level student had to have dialysis for four hours, three times a week.
Rehana Patel, Adam’s mother, said: “The only thing I can express to the family of the donor is gratitude..
“I would urge people to discuss being a donor with their families so they are aware of their wishes because it is such a big step to take.”
James Colbeck, aged 28, was struck down with a mystery illness while on holiday.
He then faced the prospect of spending years on dialysis after both his kidneys failed.
But the 25-year-old's mum, Lynn, came to his rescue and donated a kidney.
It paved the way for Mr Colbeck to become one of the most successful athletes in the history of the British Transplant Games.
Mr Colbeck, from Egerton, said: “Essentially you are saving someone’s life, it is as simple as that. That’s what happened to me thanks to my mum and I’ve never forgotten that.
“It has allowed me to fulfil my ambition to be an athlete and live my life to the full without having to worry about being on dialysis “By signing up to the register you are certainly giving the best gift at Christmas.”
Transplant Games organisers also say there is no better time than Christmas to talk to loved ones about wanting to be an organ donor.
Lynne Holt, a Trustee at Transport Sport — the charity in charge of the games — said it is essential for people to express their wishes to their family.
Ms Holt added: “Donating organs is the most wonderful gift, which is freely given, but sadly, many people who have registered on the Organ Donor Register never share their wishes with their family and because of this, many organ donations are unable to take place.
“Forty per cent of families refuse to give consent for donation of their loved one’s organs, as the majority were unaware of their wishes — this is why it is crucial to discuss your intentions of organ donation whilst you are all together — making Christmas the ideal opportunity.”
The games will see thousands of inspirational athletes who have all had transplants travel from across the country to compete in 20 different sports in and around Bolton.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, call 0300 1232323, text SAVE to 841118 or visit organdonation.nhs.uk.
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