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Kidney donor from Sussex is 100th altruistic hero
Would you donate a kidney to save the life of a stranger?
Johan Stegers, from Uckfield, has become the 100th selfless hero in the UK to do just that.
He decided to have the surgery after two of his friends and his cousin had lifesaving transplants.
Mr Stegers, 49, said: “It is human nature to want to help if you can.
“Speaking for myself, and maybe for other single people, we are maybe a good source of donors to strangers.
“If someone has a family it could be a big ask for them to donate to a complete stranger.”
A successful kidney transplant is the best treatment for many patients with established renal failure.
The first altruistic kidney donation took place in 2007 and changes in legislation mean living donation is no longer limited to family members and life-long friends.
Studies have shown there is no long-term effect on the health of the donor and donation does not increase the risk of developing kidney problems.
Living donor kidney transplants are highly successful with 93% of living kidney transplants still working well after the first year, compared to 88% of those using the kidneys of people who have died.
Lisa Burnapp, the lead nurse on living donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Spontaneous and voluntary offers of donation are motivated by a decision to do something genuinely good for someone in need, so more patients can enjoy a life free from dialysis.
“With increasing awareness we are seeing donations such as Johan’s gradually increasing.”
Annabel Ferriman, the chair of Give a Kidney – One’s Enough, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of altruistic kidney donation, said: “For us, today is a day to remember. A hundred altruistic kidney donations means 100 lives have been transformed.
“Donors also gain a sense of achievement from helping a fellow person.”
For more information on organ donation visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.