Transplant saved us

Transplant Survivor 'Craig & Son Samuel Blackburn
Transplant Survivor 'Craig & Son Samuel Blackburn

A young man has recruited hundreds of organ donors to the register after he - and his father - were given a second chance at life thanks to transplantation.

Samuel Blackburn, aged 28, suffered chronic renal failure from birth and had his right kidney removed as a youngster.

When he was placed on the transplant list, his father Craig offered to donate an organ – but, in a bizarre twist, it was while undergoing tests for the procedure that doctors discovered Craig had kidney cancer.

Craig had his affected kidney removed just months before Samuel was given his new organ in 2007 - and he has now had the all-clear.

IT account manager Samuel, of Spooner Drive, Killamarsh, said: “Before the operation I didn’t realise how ill I was - my friends used to call me Bart Simpson because I was that yellow.

“The difference the transplant has made is unbelievable, I can do stuff normally again. My dad was very lucky - without him going through the tests he wouldn’t have known about the cancer, and he could have fallen down dead.”

Samuel and a friend recently recruited 700 organ donors to the list by asking people to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register instead of sponsoring a bike ride.

For National Transplant Week, the NHS Blood and Transplant service is encouraging people to sign up as donors and tell their families of their wishes.

Figures show 212 people in South Yorkshire are currently waiting for an organ transplant and 63 have died in the last four years due to the shortage of organs.

The Star’s Gift of Life campaign aims to recruit 12,000 organ donors before the British Transplant Games in Sheffield this August.

To join the register visit Transplant Week or call 0300 123 2323.