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I donated a kidney to a stranger – now I’m running the London Marathon!

18 April 2024

On 4 February 2015, Paul Dooley, from Glasgow, took the amazing step of donating a kidney to a stranger. Paul, 39, and his brother Kenny, 44, became the first siblings in the UK to altruistically donate organs, with Kenny having donated a kidney of his own three years previously. When Paul runs the London Marathon alongside his fiancée, Lynsey, on Sunday 21 April, he will be changing even more lives by raising money to support our work at Kidney Research UK. 

Lorry driver, Paul, says: “When my brother donated a kidney to a stranger, I thought he was mad. Then I saw the difference it made in giving someone their life back, and I was inspired to do the same. I’m really proud of what my brother and I have done. 

“I’m very excited to be running the London Marathon this year to raise funds for a great charity. The team at Kidney Research UK are very much good friends now, and it will be nice to see them cheering us on from the side of the road.” 

Paul with his partner Lynsey. He is running the London Marathon after donating a kidney to a stranger.
Paul and Lauren

Giving the gift of life

Around 5,500 people in the UK are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, and six people die every week before they receive one. Living organ donation is currently the best available treatment option for most people who are in kidney failure. It can mean years of receiving dialysis can be avoided and can, ultimately, save a life. 

Although most people are born with two kidneys, we only need one to lead a happy and healthy life. Many people choose to donate a kidney to a friend or family member in need, but, as in Paul’s case, it is also possible to donate to a stranger. Around 1,100 living kidney donations are performed each year. 

Father-of-four Paul says: “Donating a kidney to give someone their life back is an indescribable feeling, and I’d encourage others to consider it. There were nerves but I always knew I was doing the right thing and would do it again if I could.” 

For more information about live kidney donation, please visit our ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign website: Home - Make Your Mark (donateakidney.co.uk) 

A momentous challenge 

Running the London Marathon is no easy feat, and Paul has worked hard to get himself in shape for the big day. 

Paul says: “This time last year I couldn’t run a mile without stopping and feeling sorry for myself. Training has been difficult, especially over the dark, cold and wet winter months. I work 12-hour shifts, so it is hard to motivate myself to go running when I get home. 

“Lynsey has pushed me to keep going and I have no doubt we will finish the marathon together. I am so proud of my progress, and I’ve also lost some weight which has got me feeling better in myself. I know when I cross that finish line, I will be very emotional and proud of my partner and myself.” 

Please consider supporting Paul and Lynsey’s fundraising efforts: Paul Dooley is fundraising for Kidney Research UK (justgiving.com) 

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