Organ donors and people given a second chance at life today praised a Star campaign for raising vital awareness about transplants.
Sheffield’s first altruistic organ donor John Carlisle said another person stepped forward to help a stranger after his story was highlighted.
The Star is highlighting our Gift of Life campaign – which succeeded in getting 22,000 more names on the NHS register ahead of the British Transplant Games in the city – for Local Newspaper Week. Making A Difference is the theme of this year’s awareness week.
Grandad John, aged 71, said: “I’m sure the campaign did make a difference.
“I have been back to the renal unit at Northern General and they said they had a lot of new inquiries and one person came forward to be a live donor.
“It sparked a lot of interest and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to feature in it.”
Semi-retired John, of Ecclesall, stepped forward to help after two men he knew died of kidney failure.
He has spent some time in hospital after the operation and admits it has taken longer than he expected to recuperate. But the father-of-three added: “The women who received the kidney sent a thank-you message and I sent her a response.
“She said she was doing well and seemed like a positive person, it sounds like she has got her life back.”
Another incredible story which came to light as part of the campaign was that of Bridie Greenway.
Ten of her relatives have had transplants because of polycystic kidney disorder.
Grandmother Bridie, who has competed in the British Transplant Games to thank the donors, said: “To get that many names to sign up to the register is fantastic.
“I have spoken to other competitors around the country who are amazed at the amount of people who do it. It is all thanks to good people.”
Richard Haybourne received a new kidney from his cousin Stuart Ashcroft a year ago as the genetic disorder Alport syndrome had reduced his kidney function, leaving him tired and ill.
They went through their operations together at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital. Engineer Richard, of Bawtry Road, Harworth, near Doncaster, said: “The campaign helped raise awareness and I know a lot more people were talking about organ donation because of it.”
Clare Jones, a specialist nurse for organ donation, approaches families with loved ones in critical care at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to ask if they would like to consider organ donation after their death.
She said: “Certainly organ donation is a subject which was quite high profile in the last year, people would tell us that they had seen something on television or read it in a magazine.
“The Star’s campaign was certainly very high profile in Sheffield as well, so for people here it had a huge impact.”