Matthew praises ‘hero’ uncle after kidney donation

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The chairman of Lincolnshire Young Farmers has said his life has been ‘totally changed’ after his uncle donated a much-needed kidney to him.

Matthew Denby, 23, who lives near Alford, suffered kidney failure when he was just 12 years old after acquiring an E.coli bacterial infection.

Following six weeks in a children’s dialysis unit, Matthew’s kidneys began to work again - with help from medication and occasional hospital visits - but he was warned he was to likely suffer more problems in the future.

This prognosis came true last summer, when his kidney function started to decline, decreasing to as little as 8-9 per cent at its lowest point.

Matthew was told he would have to begin long-term daily dialysis treatment this autumn unless a kidney donor was found, with the ideal solution being a ‘living donor’ who was prepared to offer their kidney as soon as possible.

Matthew said an ‘overwhelming’ number of people came forward to offer their kidneys, but his dad Nick and uncle Tim were among the first to be tested - Tim, 45, was a perfect match.

After further tests, the operation at St James’ University Hospital, Leeds, was pencilled in for August 31.

Matthew said: “My health was declining and I definitely felt more tired, although I was still able to do some work on the harvest.

“It was not just a normal operation, so I felt anxious, but my uncle was positive.”

The operation was a great success, and Matthew’s kidney function leapt up from 9% to 64% in just one day, and later rose to around 90% - which Matthew described as an ‘incredible’ increase.

Matthew said: “Uncle Tim’s donation has totally changed my life. The alternatives were the dialysis option - which doesn’t have a great life expectancy, and would become a big burden.

“The other option would have been going on the kidney transplant donor list, which has an 18 month wait.

“It’s remarkable what Uncle Tim has done, and I will never be able to thank him enough.

“He transformed my life with the greatest gift of all, an act of true generosity.

“He took a risk to improve my quality of life - a genuine hero who I will be always grateful to.”

Matthew also praised his medical team, adding: “The NHS renal team at St James’ hospital conducted the transplant with incredible skill and care.”

Meanwhile, the charity ball at the Lincolnshire Showground, organised by Matthew back in April, helped raise an incredible £47,470.85 for Kidney Research UK.

Over 1,100 people attended the ball, leading to a profit of over £33,000 for that event alone.

A further £6,300 was raised at Farmer Brown’s ‘Open Farm Sunday’ earlier this summer.

Special Thanks also goes to Horncastle Squash Club and the Alford Sessions House Coffee morning, which raised over £2,400 between them.

Claire Raines, Alex Olivant and Chris Hewis collectively raised £1,100 through individual challenges.

• Register to be an organ donor : www.organdonation.nhs.uk/about-donation.