Sheffield mum given gift of life urges people to sign up

Fiona Charlesworth.
Fiona Charlesworth.

A mum who was given the gift of life when she received a new kidney is urging people to join the organ donor register so more patients can be helped this year.

There are currently more than 350,000 people on the list in South Yorkshire.

But only 37 had a transplant in 2013 and last month 217 patients were still waiting for a vital donor organ.

Sheffield College worker Fiona Charlesworth received her kidney at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield in September, following a two-and-a-half year wait.

The mum, who lives in Renishaw, on the outskirts of Sheffield, suffers from polycystic kidney disease, which gradually lowered the function of her organs until she had to rely on a dialysis machine to clean her blood.

After six months, Fiona was called with the news a donor organ had become available.

“I was very emotional when I received that call,” said the 53-year-old.

“Before my transplant my energy levels were very low.

“I also felt tied to a machine and planning things like holidays was a lot of trouble and we never got round to it.

“Luckily my transplant was successful and began working immediately.

“I feel like I have been given a new lease of life. I have a new-found freedom and my energy levels have soared.

“It’s great just to be able to do normal things like go for a walk or do the housework and a holiday will definitely be on the cards in 2014!”

Fiona added: “I hope people realise what a gift organ donation is.

“It really does dramatically save and change lives.”

Andrew Davidson, lead consultant for organ donation at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, urged people to sign up to the donor register – and inform their loved ones of their wishes.

He said: “We are committed to saving and improving lives through transplantation. Since last April, the trust has retrieved 44 organs to help sick patients across the country.

“We are asking people to think about joining the organ donation register.

“Please show your support to help the thousands of people who desperately need an organ to survive or improve their lives.

“As well as signing up to the register it is also important to make your wishes known to your family.

“If more people had a discussion about their support for organ donation many more families would feel comfortable that they are following the wishes of their loved one if they need to.”

n Anyone who wants to join the register should visit or call 0300 123 23 23.