A SURGEON has got a new lease of life after his colleague donated her kidney to him.

Andrew Sloan, 45 received the devastating diagnosis of end stage renal failure in 2018 and was told he either required a transplant or faced having to receive dialysis for the rest of his life. 

After years of not being able to find a match, his colleague and friend Rebecca Brazendale, 34, of Accrington, a session utilisation coordinator at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), offered to donate. 

Against all odds, she was found as a match for the father-of-two and was able to change his life. Andrew, a consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at the trust was overwhelmed by her kindness.

He said: “As a surgeon I work closely with my waiting list clerk and as well as being a work colleague, Rebecca was also a friend. 

“From early on she had offered to see if she could donate, but as my family and friends were being tested I had always said thanks, but it’s okay. 

“When my diagnosis deteriorated and I couldn’t find a match Rebecca told me she had considered things carefully and definitely wanted to be referred to see if she could donate.

“I put her in touch with the live donation team at Preston hospital and although I was really grateful and touched by such an amazing offer I was not really expecting anything to happen as the chances she would be a match were slim.”

By March 2020 Andrew was required to undergo dialysis at the trust for four to five hours at a time, three times a week. 

He had to do this after work on a Tuesday and Thursday as well as on a Saturday night. Following weeks of testing and support, Rebecca was found to be a match and the transplant surgery was able to go ahead in March this year, with both colleagues admitted to the transplant ward at Manchester Royal Infirmary to undergo the surgery.

Andrew, of Preston, has now been given a second chance at life following the transplant and he is able to spend quality time with his wife and two daughters.

He said: “I can’t really put into words what the donation has done for me and my family. The donation has gone well (to date) and my kidney function is nearly normal, I’ve got loads more energy and I’m no longer constantly feeling unwell.”

“Over the last few years we’ve had several serious illnesses within our family with both my wife and youngest daughter requiring prolonged treatment for cancer diagnoses. 

“This really impacted us but despite that we kept going and I had managed to continue working as normal, so when I found out I needed to have dialysis and our lives were restricted again it turned everything upside down and life felt unfair.

“This donation has given me a degree of certainty of being well and able to actively participate fully in my children growing up and hopefully being able to see them into adulthood and beyond.”

Rebecca said: “I went down into theatre first and once the surgeons had completed my procedure, Andrew was admitted just after lunch to receive my kidney. I then rang his wife following my surgery to let her know everything went okay. 

“I was able to see Andy after his surgery and I couldn’t believe the change in him already, it was amazing! It was such an emotional experience and one I will never forget.”

The pair now have a closer connection than ever before and are in contact every day since Andrew returned to work last week following his absence. After the surgery they also introduced their families to each other and were able to spend time enjoying Andrew’s new lease of life.

Rebecca said: “It’s such an amazing experience especially when you know the person and their background. 

“You get to see them at their absolute worse and best, I still laugh at the fact that my kidney has done that for him, especially as he’s a Manchester United fan and I support Liverpool! It’s so humbling to be able to give the gift of normality and life to someone and knowing Andy I get to see it daily with him enjoying his life again to its full potential.”

The pair wants to encourage others to think about the option of organ donation.

They said: “Everyone should discuss donations with their family and make their wishes known. Organ donation is an amazing gift that offers seriously ill people the chance to regain some sense of normality and have a future. It’s such a generous and selfless act which words honestly cannot describe.”

To find out more about Organ and Blood donation and how to join the Bone Marrow register you can click here