Altruistic donation - Susan's story
I had decided to investigate the possibility of becoming a living kidney donor after hearing about it on a radio programme in 2014.
I lost my mum when I was a baby and grew up wishing someone could have helped her, so I saw this as a way of giving that chance to someone else. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with a healthy life, but I would accept a kidney if I needed one, so donating seemed like the natural thing to do.
I suppose in life people give back in lots of different ways. This for me ticked the boxes in terms of something I could do and from the moment I’d made the decision, I never questioned it.
Luckily after assessment I was told that I was a suitable candidate and from that moment, I never looked back. It was a year from my first enquiry to the operation going ahead in July 2015.
The only time I felt guilt was when I left my husband and daughter on the day of my surgery, as I knew they had a terrible day ahead of them. My husband was understandably quite reluctant at first, but as soon as he saw how passionate I was about it, I had his full support.
The surgery went well. I remember the doctors describing it was ‘uneventful’, and it was followed by a similarly uneventful recovery. I was hoovering the day I got home from the hospital.
I found out before the surgery that the recipient of my kidney was going to be a child. I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d think about that person in the weeks and months that followed. I knew the transplant had been a success, but understood that I might never know more. When I received a letter from the child’s grandfather, it blew me away. It was like the icing on the cake.
That letter meant the world to me, and if I hadn’t heard another thing it would have been enough.
Since then, I’ve been fortunate to found out that the recipient is a little girl called Meghan who is now seven and as a result of her transplant has been able to go back to school, learn to ride her bike and has become a competent swimmer.
It’s like a fairytale and I feel lucky and privileged to have been part of it. I’d do the whole experience again tomorrow if I could. It’s up there with getting married and becoming a mother and will stay with me for the rest of my life.