IF anyone knows the importance of organ donation, it is David Greenhalgh — the Bolton councillor with four kidneys.
The 46-year-old has clocked up the unusual number of kidneys from three transplants.
The first failed immediately and was removed but the second, which stopped working after six good years, as well as his own two, remain in his body.
For nine-and-a-half years, Cllr Greenhalgh was forced to survive on dialysis and resigned himself to the fact he may never find a third donor.
But in September 2011, he received “the call” all potential donor recipients hope for and underwent his third successful transplant.
More than two years on since the operation, Cllr Greenhalgh’s fourth kidney is still working.
He says he has not forgotten the moment he received his third call and is backing The Bolton News’ Sign Up To Save Lives campaign.
He said: “Being on dialysis is very draining.
“I actually had a feeling I would never get another transplant because I had a lot of antibodies from the previous transplant.
“Then almost 10 years later, I got the call that there was a transplant waiting for me.
“It was a mixture of emotions really because obviously you have been waiting for that day and you’re elated.
“But then you’re faced with a six to eight hour operation and I knew there would probably be complications.”
Cllr Greenhalgh was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy at the age of 23, after bacteria from a teenage throat infection slowly destroyed his kidneys.
The debilitating illness meant he had to sacrifice what was shaping up to be a promising acting career in London and move back to Bolton to concentrate on his care. He added: “When I first diagnosed I was still quite determined I was not going to let it stop my acting career.
“Once I had stabilised I did move back down to London and started a comedy cabaret.
“I managed to do that for some time but then I got parentinitus infection four times in four months and became very ill.
“That’s when I realised I had to put my acting career on hold.”
He is now encouraging people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and said he would back an “opt out” system where people are automatically registered as donors unless they choose otherwise.
Cllr Greenhalgh said: “The biggest enemy is apathy.
“People don’t like to think about their own mortality but I would urge people to sign up.
“I have no problem with people saying they don’t want to donate, but if they do choose to, they have the potential to save or increase the quality of someone’s life.”