“Back in 2019, a good friend of mine, Gav, found out he had kidney disease and I immediately offered a kidney. I didn't even need to think about it. It felt like the most natural and normal thing to do. 

In October of that year, I had my first appointment, an initial blood test to see if I was a blood match. It was at this point I also learned of the Kidney Sharing Scheme but I felt so sure I'd be a match that I didn't think about it properly.

A few days later, I got the call to say I wasn't a match and I was absolutely heartbroken. Within 20 minutes I'd called back and put myself forward for the Sharing Scheme. If I couldn't donate directly to my friend, why couldn't I donate to a stranger? My friend would still get a kidney. And a stranger would get mine. And a different stranger would donate to my friend. And all on the same day. I thought of it as donating a kidney 'in the round'. I wouldn't be donating TO my friend but I would be donating FOR him. It actually felt even more perfect and even more special.

So, I started going through all the tests but then, the Covid pandemic happened, delaying the whole thing even further. By the time testing was completed and I was deemed healthy enough to donate, it was April 2021!

Then, the process to find a match began. Every 3 months, all of those in the matching scheme are put together and matches are found. Foolishly, I'd presumed we'd find a match on our first try. We didn't! 3 months later we tried again. This time we got a match so we started further tests only to find that we weren't a match after all. Finally, on our third try, we got lucky. Further tests confirmed it and we got our date... 26th April 2022.

As the day approached, I definitely went through a whirlwind of emotions but at no point did I ever want to stop the process. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I also knew that I could have stopped it and pulled out at any time. There would have been zero judgement.

On the day of the operation, I was nervous but excited too. And when I came round afterwards, the overwhelming feeling of pride and joy I felt was incredible. I felt so brave and so incredible and so happy to have done what I'd done. Receiving the news later that night that my kidney had been successfully transplanted into a man in his 60s and that my friends transplant had also gone well was just wonderful.

My recovery was great too. Yes, I had pain and yes, I had sickness but I was home in my own bed the next day, something I still can't quite believe happened.

I've recently returned to work after my recovery and, while I find that I get more tired more easily than I used to and still have a little tenderness as I continue to heal, I feel pretty much normal. And any bit of pain or discomfort I've had has been absolutely worth it. My friend’s recovery is going well, he is no longer tied to a dialysis machine and knowing the part I played in that makes me so proud. I may never meet the man who has my actual kidney... that's up to him. But that's fine. Knowing my kidney has changed his life for the better is good enough for me.

Donating a kidney is the best thing I have ever done. I will never regret even a tiny part of it and I'd do it all over again if I could.”