A WALBERTON pensioner who donated a kidney to a complete stranger is urging others to follow suit.
Kindhearted grandmother-of-12 Cherry Williams, of Copse Lane, gave up her organ just before Christmas.
She was the latest person to become an altruistic donor – someone who gives a kidney to a stranger on NHS waiting list.
Cherry said: “I’m so happy to have done this. I know just how much a new kidney can change someone’s life.”
The 68-year-old first considered becoming a kidney donor four years ago when she saw the life-changing impact it had on one of her relatives.
Many who are in desperate need of a new kidney face months of regular and uncomfortable dialysis treatments to keep them alive.
But it’s not a permanent solution.
“It’s like you’re living in a prison, it’s truly horrible,” she explained.
Some people are born with only one kidney, and donors can live quite happily with only one.
Cherry’s journey to become a donor began a year ago, when she approached the renal transplant unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth.
It was here she began an intensive 11 months of rigorous tests, scans and interviews to make sure she was fit enough to undergo surgery and that her kidney was healthy enough to be transplanted.
“At every stage in the testing process,” she said, “I was met with efficiency, kindness and expertise from a dedicated team of hardworking, friendly staff,” she said.
Her kidney was removed in a three-hour operation, and was implanted into a 41-year-old man who had been on dialysis for eight years.
After five days in hospital, Cherry returned home to her loving husband, Graham, 78.
She added: “If you’re thinking about donating, just do it, really, do it. It can make a huge difference.”
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