A MAN on the brink of organ failure has been given a second chance at life by his best friend of 23 years.
John Dodds, of Windermere, who was in the final stages of kidney failure less than a fortnight ago, is now back at home recovering thanks to John Hutton, of Kendal, who donated one of his own organs to his pal ‘without a second thought’.
“It’s just amazing to know that someone in my life was prepared to give me a kidney,” said Mr Dodds, 48.
“If you don’t have dialysis or a trans-plant you’ll die, it’s as simple as that.
“I feel very humbled by what he’s done, actually.”
Now the pair have spoken out in the hope that more people will sign up to the organ donor register – to give the ulti-mate gift to someone else.
It follows the Gazette’s ‘Gift of Life’ campaign, launched in 2010, to combat a shortage of donors in Cumbria.
“I think it’s extremely important,” said Mr Hut-ton, 39, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
“It’s a personal decision and nobody should feel forced, but I haven’t regretted it once. Why wouldn’t I save my friend’s life, if I could? It’s just what friends do.”
Mr Dodds, of Church Street, said: “I would urge people to at least carry a donor card. The quality of my life would have been completely different if I hadn’t found a donor – John’s given me a life, basically.”
Mr Dodds, a supermarket trainer, was diag-nosed with kidney failure at the age of 18 during a routine medical exam.
It was caused, he said, by medication he was given for an illness he suffered as a baby.
The scarring of his kid-neys caused their function to drop dramatically to just seven per cent – 15 per cent is usually the trigger for dialysis.
“Some people wait for years on the transplant list while having dialysis but it’s no life once you’re at that point,” he said.
“I would have been on daily treatment and woul-dn’t have had any quality of life. I needed a donor.”
Statistics released by the NHS reveal that around 3,000 kidney patients die each year, 400 of whom are on the transplant list.
Mr Dodds was put on a national waiting list, and also asked his family for help – it was Mr Hutton, who works at Barclays in Grange-over-Sands, who was the best match.
“He said he’d do it, without even a second thought,” said Mr Dodds.
The pair underwent a raft of tests and last Monday had the surgery in Manchester.
Timothy Statham, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation (NKF), said: “I wish more people would consider doing the same thing,.
“Life expectancy for someone on dialysis is between six and eight years so time really is running out when you get to that stage.
“At the end of renal failure your kidneys won’t keep you alive any more.”
Mr Dodds, who met Mr Hutton through Kendal Torchlight Festival in 1991, now has three kidneys in his body – although only the donated one works.
He said: “Around three people die each day across the UK due to the shortage of organs and there are about 10,000 people in need of a transplant.
“We strongly urge everyone to talk to their family and join the NHS Organ Donor Register.”
For more information or to sign up to the register visit www.organdonation. nhs.uk or call 0300-123-23 23.