Transplant recipient urges everyone to join Organ Donor Register

Fiona Davies, who underwent a life-saving kidney transplant operation in May 2017, is supporting the Scottish Government campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Fiona Davies, who underwent a life-saving kidney transplant operation in May 2017, is supporting the Scottish Government campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

A woman who received a life-saving kidney transplant in May 2017 has backed a campaign to increase the number of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Fiona Davies (35) now has the energy to enjoy life with her son and husband, following five years of living with kidney failure.

Fiona was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) when she was 17, a hereditary disease which she successfully managed.

However the birth of son James in 2012 impacted on Fiona’s kidney function, which continued to decline until she reached end stage kidney failure in October 2016.

Following assessment, Fiona was listed for transplant in March 2017 and had a fistula fitted in preparation for dialysis.

Family and friends came forward to be tested as potential living donors.

However news that a suitable deceased donor had been found came just three weeks after Fiona joined the waiting list – and the transplant was a success.

Fiona took part in the Donor Run at the British Transplant Games in North Lanarkshire last July in recognition of what her donor and their family has done for her, although she admits whatever she does, it’ll never be enough.

Fiona said: “Looking back, I had no idea how ill I actually was towards the end. I was getting through life, but was constantly tired and had no concentration. Motivating myself to do things became harder and harder.

“I wanted to hold off dialysis until my son started school, but could start to feel things dipping. I had restless legs and couldn’t sit for any length of time, I felt sick when I ate and was in bed for 7.30pm every night.

“I was really lucky as so many people came forward to offer to be living donors, from my family to my colleagues, to old friends.

“My dad was a match, but as it turned out, the kidney I got was a better match freeing my dad up to donate to my mum, who also has PKD, when the time comes.”

Speaking about the impact of organ donation, Fiona said: “I got the call just minutes after my son’s fifth birthday party and the transplant surgery all went to plan.

“I was home six days later and things just got better and better. It’s quite unbelievable the change it’s made to my life and I have my donor to thank for that.

“For the first couple of weeks I found myself very upset that I didn’t know more about the person who had given me something so significant. It’s hard when you can’t do anything to show your gratitude, but we’ve visited the organ donation memorial at Kelvingrove and are planning a visit to Edinburgh to visit the memorial at the Botanics to pay tribute to what that person has done for me.

“When you die there’s so much good you can do. My belief is that you’re bigger than your body. You don’t realise that until your ill.

“Organ donation absolutely changes lives and I don’t think people realise just how important it is. My donor freed up my dad to save my mum, my little boy has his mum back, and I have a future.”