Richard Brown underwent a second kidney transplant in September 2019, after spending seven years on dialysis.
The 70 year old spoke of how the worry has lifted and the freedom he now has, thanks to his donor.
Richard was first diagnosed with a kidney condition called IgA nephropathy in 2011 after blood tests taken by his GP showed his kidney function was low, and started dialysis in 2012.
His first transplant went ahead in September 2014, two years after he was listed for transplant, but a number of problems including Richard contracting pneumonia led to the transplant failing and the kidney needing to be removed.
Richard was relisted and started back on dialysis, treatment that continued for another five years until he received another call in September 2019, the day after his and wife Carol’s 39th wedding anniversary.
“Dialysis was just something I got on with. I didn’t spend my days thinking about when I would get a transplant. I knew I was on the list, and just put it out of my mind and tried to get on with things.
“Going back on dialysis after the first transplant failed did feel like more of a disruption. I had to go three mornings a week, and then would sleep all afternoon, so it felt like three days out my life. Nothing could be spontaneous and there were a lot of restrictions on my diet.
“When the call came in September, I went straight to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow that morning. I wasn’t worried about the surgery but I was very aware it could be cancelled at any time. But the kidney arrived, I was able to have an hours’ worth of dialysis and was then taken to theatre.
“When I came round, I remember thinking how fortunate I was to have this new kidney. I just knew life from that point would be so much easier and my recovery is going well.
“The worry has lifted, and after all those years of doing dialysis, I feel like I have freedom for the first time in a long time. That has been made possible by my donor and I’m very, very grateful for what I’ve been given.”
Prior to his transplant, Richard’s wife Carol raised funds for Kidney Research UK at Monklands Hospital, selling angels and tablet made by two transplant patients whilst Richard was on dialysis.
The couple continue to devote their time to the charity, helping raise funds and awareness of kidney disease, to give something back.
“It does frustrate me that there’s a belief that kidney problems are caused by lifestyle. Kidney function can be affected by a number of different diseases and no one is immune, it can happen to anyone. Which is why it’s so important to promote the benefits of organ donation - you never know when you or a family member will need a transplant.
“I think what donors and their families do for others is incredible and I hope it brings comfort knowing that part of their loved one is living on. Me and my family will be forever grateful.”