A campaigner who donated a kidney to a close relative is looking to set up a support group in Wigan.
Four years ago Mark Fegan went under the knife to benefit brother-in-law Ian Lythgoe, who has hereditary kidney disease, and both are still fighting fit.
And his wife Marie has also saw her daughter Kirsty Lythgoe donate a kidney last November.
But Mark is concerned that there is no local forum for patients to share their experiences of living with kidney conditions.
Now through the Observer he is looking to gauge interest in staging regular gatherings, so affected people can give each other a lift.
Mark said: “It is going to be run purely on a voluntary basis on my days off.
“We are hoping that the first meeting is going to be on January 2 in Costa Coffee in Wigan.
“There are quite a lot of kidney patients in the Wigan area, including those on dialysis.
“But the nearest kidney patients association branch is at Salford Royal Hospital and there should be one closer to home.”
He also spent the last couple of years lobbying for an opt-out system for transplants, which is already in operation in Wales, while working as a staunch advocate for Kidney Research UK.
This would mean that people would automatically qualify as organ donors on their death - unless they had specifically stipulated they didn’t want to take part.
Mark has been liaising closely with the Wigan Renal Unit, which is based at Boston House, in Frog Lane, as well as his own surgery, on the possibility of establishing a support group.
The haemodialysis department, a satellite of Salford Royal, has been running since 2006 and offers everything from a GP surgery, to a pharmacy, opthalmology services, a chronic disease management centre and physiotherapy, audiology and dietetics services.
Those interested in finding out more about Mark’s plans can contact him on 07922 655725 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org