A FAMILY have launched a campaign to raise awareness of organ donation – after a father and son were told they both face kidney transplants.
Mark Ullyett and his brother-in-law Phil Atkinson have teamed up to organise a fundraising golf tournament.
Both Mark, aged 49, and his son Jason, 21, could need kidney transplants in the future.
Mark, from Shiregreen in Sheffield, has been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease – a rare condition where fluid-filled cysts develop in the kidneys.
He will have to begin undergoing dialysis treatment, and will be placed on the waiting list for a transplant.
His diagnosis came as a huge shock to the previously fit and healthy print finisher.
And he was dealt a further blow when doctors warned him his two children each had a 50-50 chance of developing the genetic disease.
Daughter Laura, 24, was given the all-clear – but Jason tested positive.
His symptoms are unlikely to manifest themselves until he reaches his father’s age, but he is now living with the knowledge he may also need a transplant later in life.
Mark said: “It was a big shock. I’ve only been to the doctor three times in the last three years.
“Jason said part of him didn’t want to know, because I’d lived through my 20s, 30s and 40s unaware I had it and he wanted that too.”
Now Mark and his brother-in-law Phil, 52, from Hammerton Road in Hillsborough, are calling on people in South Yorkshire to sign up to the organ donor register.
Mark said: “A lot of people are very reluctant to be organ donors until they or someone close to them needs one.
“But you don’t realise how many people out there need organs until you need one yourself.”
The Blood and Transplant service says there are 74 people in Sheffield on the waiting list for a new kidney.
And latest statistics show 141,545 people living in the Sheffield postcode areas are on the UK Organ Donor Register.
But last year only 20 kidney transplants were carried out.
Mark and crane driver Phil’s fundraising golf tournament will see teams from both their companies – Proco Print Ltd and Forgemasters – go head-to-head.
The event takes place on Saturday, May 19, and will raise money and awareness for kidney research charities.