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Thursday, 27 January, 2000, 13:59 GMT
'I donated a kidney to my son'

dialysis Kidney patients face dialysis unless a donor can be found


A father who donated a kidney to his son tells BBC News Online what motivated him to go under the knife.

Stephen Bennett had known since his son Richard was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease at the age of six that one day he would need a replacement organ.

So when in Richard's late teens his kidneys began to fail, there was no question in Stephen's mind what he should do.



I can never understand why people don't want to do it or don't think about doing it because it has got everything going for it
Stephen Bennett
And two years ago, when Richard was 21, he agreed to let surgeons at Guy's Hospital in London remove one of his kidneys and use it as transplant organ for his son.

Stephen said: "The alternative to a transplant would have been to go on dialysis and wait for a deceased donor to arrive on the waiting list.

Match

"The match from a related donor has a very much greater chance of being suitable and you do not have the wait for a brain stem death and then decide whether it is a match.

"The longer it goes on and the iller the person gets, the harder it is to rectify."



I was shocked when I first heard dad wanted to donate to me. I didn't want him to go through with it
Richard Bennett
His son was within around a month of his kidneys failing and having to go onto dialysis and was feeling increasingly tired and run-down.

"I thought about my decision to donate, but it was never really an issue as far as I was concerned.

"I had sufficient trust in the people at Guy's, who are fantastic. As far as I was concerned there was no risk in the short term from the operation, or in the long term because one is perfectly capable of living with one kidney."

The operation itself was painful, he said, and he was in hospital for a week. Once the pain had gone he was left feeling tired for some time but returned to work six weeks after undergoing surgery.

As proof that he has suffered no long term ill effects from the operation, Mr Bennett, now 53, has since climbed Mont Blanc and run two marathons.

He added: "I can never understand why people don't want to do it or don't think about doing it because it has got everything going for it."

Richard, who is now studying for a teaching qualification in Cambridge, said: "I was shocked when I first heard dad wanted to donate to me. I didn't want him to go through with it, but families have a way of persuading you.

"I am just very, very grateful. It is so far, so good."

The donor kidney started working immediately and he has had no problems since.

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See also:
27 Jan 00 |  Health
Drive to increase live kidney donors

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