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UK-wide programme will encourage more people to consider giving the gift of life through living kidney donation

13 June 2023

A new programme to raise awareness of living kidney donation and encourage more people to consider saving lives by becoming a living donor is to be launched thanks to a partnership between two specialist charities.

Kidney Research UK will join forces with Give a Kidney, a charity devoted to living kidney donation, to deliver the programme. Together, we will deliver the nationwide programme, from helping more people understand what it means to be a living donor, to supporting them throughout their donation journey.

About the programme

The programme has been made possible thanks to the vision and support of businessman and philanthropist Dr David Dangoor, who has personal experience of living kidney donation, having previously donated a kidney to his brother Robert. We will also be working with NHS Blood and Transplant throughout the planning and delivery of the programme.

Worldwide, kidney diseases are the tenth most common cause of death and in the UK more than 5,000 people are currently on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, which equates to over three quarters of people waiting for a transplant. Despite ongoing work to encourage kidney donation from both living and deceased donors, around six people die each week waiting for a transplant.

For a kidney transplant to be successful, a potential donor needs to be a suitable blood and tissue match for the recipient. The chance of finding a suitable match for people on the deceased donor transplant list is higher from a donor of the same ethnicity. Currently people from Black and Asian backgrounds are more likely to need a transplant but less likely to donate, so patients often wait longer for a suitable donor to be found. Living donation enables potential donors to come forward and be tested, increasing the opportunities for everyone waiting for a transplant.

Committed to driving progress

Sandra Currie, chief executive of Kidney Research UK said: “Donating a kidney is literally giving someone the gift of life and many people may not be aware that they could donate a kidney to a loved one or a stranger and carry on living a normal life.

“We are committed to driving progress in kidney health in the UK and to transforming treatments for patients, and receiving a kidney donation transforms the life of the recipient.

“We know that an increase in the number of living donors coming forward could make a lifesaving difference to kidney patients across the UK, and significantly reduce the waiting time for many, we are so grateful to Dr Dangoor for making this campaign possible.”

Bob Wiggins, chair and trustee of Give a Kidney said: “Most people will be familiar with the concept of being an organ donor and many will have ensured they are registered to donate organs at the end of their life. But fewer will know that they could donate a kidney during their life and make an extraordinary difference to someone desperate for a life-saving transplant.

“Donating a kidney is a big decision and we work with potential donors every step of the way to ensure they fully understand the process and are informed and supported whilst they review their donation options.”

Dr Dangoor, who is known for his philanthropy in areas including education and health, said: “The growing rate of kidney disease here in the UK and across the world means that every day, lives are lost to this awful condition.

“Having donated a kidney to my brother, I know first-hand that it is perfectly possible to do this and to carry on living a normal life.

“Through this campaign, I hope that more people are able to learn about the possibilities of living donation and may be inspired to take that step and change the life of someone living with kidney disease. Our ultimate vision is that no one should die waiting for a kidney.”

Next steps

Work is now underway to develop the programme, and new resources for donors in collaboration with key stakeholders including NHS Blood and Transplant and the wider donation and transplantation community.

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