A Woodhall Spa woman has become one of the first 500 people across the UK to donate a kidney to a stranger.
Alison Keegan (60), who is a community first responder, donated her kidney in 2015 at Nottingham City Hospital.
It is known as non-directed (altruistic) living kidney donation and Alison is part of a campaign to highlight the procedure.
“There are currently more than 5,000 people waiting for a kidney in the UK and around 300 people die each year in need of one,” she said.
“Donating a kidney was a little scary, exciting and above all a great privilege.”
It is 10 years since the law was changed to allow kidney donation to a stranger.
Lisa Burnapp, lead nurse for living donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Living donation is highly successful, and hundreds of people have had their lives saved and transformed in reaching this milestone over the past decade, thanks to the incredible generosity of these donors.
“Through donor chains, up to three people can benefit from a single donation because it can trigger a chain of transplants.
“The more people who are willing to consider donating in this way, the more kidneys there are available to help everyone waiting for a transplant.”
Any healthy adult can volunteer to be assessed as a living donor and a kidney from a living donor is the very best treatment option for most patients with kidney diseases.
The volunteer donor goes through a thorough assessment over several months to ensure they are fit and healthy and that the risk to them is as low as possible.
If approved, they are matched with a suitable recipient from the transplant waiting list, or they can also enter into a sharing scheme which enables one non-directed donor to potentially ‘trigger’ up to three transplants.
“We’re encouraging everyone to consider if you could share your spare,” said Bob Wiggins, who chairs the charity Give a Kidney, which raises awareness of non-directed kidney donation.
“Many people still don’t know that any healthy adult can volunteer as a living donor.
“As a result of people like Alison, many hundreds of lives have been changed for the better.
“Not only that, but together this group has already saved the NHS tens of millions of pounds over the cost of keeping the recipients of their kidneys on dialysis treatment.”
Anyone wishing to consider giving the gift of a kidney to someone as a living donor can find out more by logging on to www.giveakidney.org.