A Wiganer who is about to save a life by donating a kidney has spoken about his decision to encourage other people to sign the register.
Ian Dyer, of Springfield Road, will have the organ removed to be given to someone desperately needing one in an operation in Manchester next month. Unlike many people who donate when a loved one requires a transplant Ian’s kidney will be given to someone he does not know and has never met.
I’ve been a blood donor before and have clocked up more than 50 appointments in my time and I’m already on the organ donor register, but I was wondering if there was anything feasible I could do in my lifetimeIan Dyer
He says the opportunity to transform someone else’s life, or perhaps even prevent a death, was enough to persuade him to sign up to go ahead with the donation.
Ian, 68, said: “I’ve been a blood donor before and have clocked up more than 50 appointments in my time and I’m already on the organ donor register, but I was wondering if there was anything feasible I could do in my lifetime.
“I saw an article in the i newspaper way back at the start of the year about somebody in his 70s doing the same thing I will be doing.
“He donated his kidney and everything was fine. I immediately knew this was something I wanted to do. When my time comes they can have whatever they want but I think if I’m still fit enough I can give somebody that quality of life. If it’s one person less on dialysis, for example, that will help.
“They reckon donating a kidney could add more than 20 years to someone’s life. It’s saving a life as well.” The decision to donate a kidney required a lot of deep personal reflection for Ian Dyer, and his devout Christian faith also helped him.
He says the congregation at Trinity United Reform Church (URC) has been extremely supportive, as has the LGBT Foundation in Manchester where he works as a volunteer.
He also hopes his selfless act will show lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that myths about them being unable to take part in blood or organ donations are precisely that and encourage more to sign the donor register.
Ian said: “I gave it a great deal of thought and prayer, because I am a committed Christian.
“I’m feeling fine. When I received the actual date of the operation it felt even more real than it had before and I’m sure I will get a bit worried as it comes nearer, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully at the end of it we will get a good result.
“The LGBT Foundation has given me whole-hearted support and I’ve done a couple of interviews for the magazine, and my church is also behind me 100 per cent.
“Friends and family have also respected my decision.
“We in the LGBT community can do so many positive things, including this.
“The rules have been relaxed so, depending on circumstances of course, people can join the blood donor register or the organ side of it.”
The process of being accepted for organ donation took around seven months as Ian had to pass a gruelling series of screenings and medical tests.
He underwent blood tests, including ones for HIV, tissue matching screenings, X-rays and CT scans, as well as a detailed interview with a clinical psychologist, at both Salford Royal Hospital and the Royal Manchester Hospital.
He will go into hospital on November 3 for the operation the following day.
After that he will require a few days on the ward before being discharged home for several weeks of recuperation.
As he will have to avoid heavy lifting or other strenuous tasks during that time a fellow volunteer from the LGBT Foundation will make the journey to Wigan to help Ian around the house.
Ian knows his kidney will be donated to an adult, but whether he finds out any more or ever gets to meet the person he helped will be entirely the recipient’s choice.
Anyone considering following in his footsteps and becoming a live organ donor can speak to NHS Blood and Transplant or their GP for extra medical opinions before taking the step of signing up.
Ian has a simple message for anyone weighing up the decision, which is to focus on what will come from the operation.
He said: “If anybody does feel able to donate, is fit enough and can get through the medical tests I would like them to consider it.
“It’s not just kidneys, nowadays they can use parts of the liver and other relevant organs that may be suitable.
“It really will give quality of life to somebody less fortunate.”
For more information, contact NHS Blood and Transplant by ringing 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/