A GRATEFUL man fought back tears as he thanked his cousin for giving him the gift of life – a new kidney.
Richard Haybourne, aged 34, was waiting on the NHS Organ Donor Register for more than a year after the genetic disorder Alport syndrome reduced his kidney function, leaving him tired and ill.
But he has been given a second chance after cousin Stuart Ashcroft stepped in to help.
Dad-of-two Stuart and Richard underwent a kidney transplant at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.
Engineer Richard, of Bawtry Road, Harworth, near Doncaster, said: “The new kidney is working so well it’s unbelievable.
“Within three days of the operation I had the kidney function of somebody my age, in the 80 per cent region, when before it was close to 10 per cent.
“I can’t explain how ill I must have been before to how I feel now, it’s like I have got new batteries.”
Both men have thrown their weight behind the Gift of Life campaign, backed by The Star, to sign up 12,000 more organ donors before the British Transplant Games in Sheffield this August.
More than 3,000 people have already joined the register.
Harworth Colliery FC are also holding a fundraising night to collect cash for Stuart‘s family to go on holiday.
But Stuart, 32, has asked for the money to go to the Sheffield Area Kidney Association and the night aims to sign up more people as donors.
Self-employed plumber Stuart, of Bircotes, Nottinghamshire, said: “The operation was a little bit scary but the hospital were brilliant at reassuring me.
“The day after the operation I managed to get out of bed and see Richard.
“He looked totally different, the colour was in his face, his eyes were clear, and that was a fantastic feeling.
“I’d recommend anybody to be a donor, it is a brilliant feeling to help somebody.”