Skip to content

I donated a kidney to my best mate, now I’m running the London marathon!

08 April 2024

In November 2023, best mates, Spencer Moss, from Surrey, and Dave Yeatman from East Sussex, celebrated a special anniversary. It was ten years since Spencer donated one of his kidneys to Dave.  

Spencer, 56, says: “We go out every year to celebrate our kidneyversary. We always try to book a table at a restaurant with our partners. It’s an emotional occasion for us all.” 

Males friends wearing purple t-shirts and purple fan wigs
Best friends, Dave and Spencer

Marathon plans

The pair had planned to run this year’s London Marathon together, on Sunday 21 April, after Spencer entered 52-year-old Dave into the ballot for this year’s challenge. However, sadly, Dave had to withdraw after being advised to do so by his doctor due to illness. 

Spencer is now determined to run the marathon on behalf of them both and meet Dave at the finish line to celebrate the money they have raised to support our charity at Kidney Research UK. Spencer will be completing the London Marathon for the second year in a row, after raising more than £4,000 for our charity in 2023. 

Spencer says: “It’s disappointing for both of us that Dave is no longer able to run, but his health comes first and that’s what we’re doing it for – to put the health of kidney patients first and fund research into better treatments. I’ll still be running, and Dave will be cheering me on. It’ll be a great day and an emotional moment when I meet Dave at the finish line.” 

I consider Dave’s family, my family

The pair have been best friends for over 25 years, since they met playing football through work. Spencer says: “We hit it off straight away. We call each other brother and have always been close. We’ve travelled and been on holiday together, our partners get on well and I consider Dave’s family, my family. We spend Christmases and birthdays together. We’ve lived together and have done a lot over the years. Our friendship has gone from strength to strength.” 

It was in the mid-1990s that Dave first found out that he had chronic kidney disease (CKD). Spencer says: “He found out because he went for an eye test. He went to the opticians, and they noticed something in his eyes indicating that he had chronic kidney failure. They rushed him straight to hospital and then he was on the transplant list for a while.” 

Fortunately, Dave didn’t have to wait too long for a transplant and received a kidney from a deceased donor in 1996. That kidney lasted until 2010, when Spencer could see something was wrong as it started to deteriorate. He says: “He was starting to look unwell, and his kidney function dropped as low as 12%.” 

It was an easy decision to donate

With Dave facing the prospect of dialysis to keep him alive, Spencer decided to act. He spoke with Dave’s doctors and began the process to see if he was a match to donate his kidney to his friend. Spencer says: “It was an easy decision to donate, I always said that I’d help him. I didn’t tell him to begin with in case I wasn’t a match. I didn’t want to build his hopes.” 

“One day I popped in to see Dave at work, we were having a coffee, and my phone rang. I went to take the call and was told I was a match for donation. I went back into the room and Dave asked me who called. I told him it was the hospital and he asked what was wrong with me. Then I told him: ‘it wasn’t my hospital; it was your hospital’. I told Dave everything and he started welling up. We both broke down, had a man hug and a moment.” 

Dave's gone on to have another child 

After Spencer was confirmed as a match, it took another 18 months before the transplant could take place. In July 2010, they suffered a setback when Dave had pneumonia.  

Spencer says: “Although Dave wasn’t fit enough to undergo the surgery, they gave us another four months to prepare. Then, in November 2010, we were told we’d passed the tests and had the transplant booked for 20 days later.” 

“I remember waking up in the recovery room and Dave was opposite. We both woke up at the same time and gave a thumbs up. I could see the colour in his face and his eyes. He’d gone from being yellow to being pink. It was an instant change, it was amazing.” 

“We’re both fit and well. Dave’s gone on to have another child, Ava, who is eight this year which always gets me a bit emotional. He got married two years ago and I was best man. The tests, the staff, the operation, the aftercare and living with one kidney has been easy. I go for an annual check-up, but I’ve had no complications at all. We don’t really need two kidneys.” 

“If I could do it again, I would. If it didn’t come from me, I don’t know how long Dave would’ve had to wait on the transplant register. Would he have got one in time? I didn’t want to lose my mate. I want him around for a long time. I dread the day if anything starts to go wrong because I can’t help him anymore.” 

Two men walking in hospital during their transplant surgery stay
Dave and Spencer in hospital

A charity close to our hearts

Spencer is no stranger to fundraising, having taken part in several events to support Kidney Research UK including the London Bridges Walk, Great North Run and Ride London-Essex. He says: “It’s an ideal charity to fundraise for because it’s so close to our hearts. I wasn’t aware that kidney failure was such a massive thing until I was surrounded by it.” 

“All the staff at Kidney Research UK have been really helpful, friendly and supportive. It’s good to see them when you’re out at any event, whether it’s running, cycling or walking, they’re there. They’re always there at the end of the phone or email, they’re there in the wind, rain or sunshine to cheer you on, and it really helps.” 

“I’m looking forward to the marathon and run whenever I can. It’s starting to come round pretty quick! I’m not getting any younger, my body is telling me ‘you're mad, what are you doing!?’ I think this will be my last swansong.” 

We’re wishing Spencer the best of luck and cannot wait to cheer him over the finish line with Dave. 

Help Spencer reach his fundraising target 

Read more people stories

Why not make a donation now?

(Every £ counts)

Scroll To Top