Husband’s gift of life as donation appeal is made

John and Tracy Bielby.
John and Tracy Bielby.
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A husband is preparing to donate one of his kidneys to dramatically improve the quality of life of his wife.

John and Tracy Bielby will be in hospital on Friday for the procedure after a new kidney could not be found for Mrs Bielby from the transplant waiting list.

The couple, of Ackworth, are appealing for more donors to come forward to tackle a chronic shortage - and for a change to rules which allow families to veto loved ones’ wishes for organs to be passed on.

Mrs Bielby, 44, was born with a condition which caused her kidneys not to develop properly and needs dialysis.

She had been on the waiting list for a new kidney for three years after a previous transplant which worked for 23 years failed.

Mrs Bielby said: “They said I couldn’t get one off the donor list because my antibodies are too high. But I probably would have got one if more donors came forward.

“We saw a consultant and John said he wanted to be a live donor.

“At first I didn’t want him to go through with it but it is my only option.He just wants me to live a normal life again.”

Mrs Bielby described the improvement to her daily life after she had her last transplant.

She said: “I went to university. I met my husband and we travelled all over on loads of holidays.

“You can’t travel when you are on dialysis.

“You have restrictions on your diet and on fluid intake, which is difficult in hot weather. I haven’t eaten a proper meal for about 12 months.”

Mrs Bielby said it was easy for people to become a donors and pass on much-needed organs after they die.

She added: “There’s an option when you people get their driving licence to sign up.

“It’s easy enough to do. But it is still left to families to decide if they want it to go ahead.”

The UK has one of the lowest donor rates in Europe - even after record numbers of organs being donated and transplanted last year.

In Wales, a groundbreaking new system was introduced last December which means people are deemed to have consented to donate organs unless they have opted out. But the system is not in place in England and Scotland.

Latest figures show the biggest obstacle to organs being passed on UK-wide is refusal by families.

The consent rate was 62 per cent last year, way short of the government’s target of 80 per cent by 2020. The consent rate is just 34 per cent for black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.