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BBC Interview with an altruistic living kidney donor & recipient

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This UK National Radio Program was aired last Thursday on our National Radio BBC 2 channel -music and News discussion/phone-in program. In case you are out of the area where you can hear it or it has been deleted off the site as it is time sensitive (one week only), here is the gist of the broadcast:

"The Gift of life: Did you hear altruistic kidney donor, Nicholas Crace, on the Jeremy Vine Show, on UK's National BBC Radio Two, last Thursday?

Jeremy Vine first interviewed Mr Crace about his life changing operation and donation carried out at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, in 2012.Mr Crace was 83 years old when he achieved a double first by becoming the oldest living kidney donor in the UK and simultaneously becoming the oldest person in the country to give a kidney to a stranger.

A widower and former charity director from Overton, Hampshire, Nicholas is one of a rare group of people known as an “altruistic donor”, someone who gives a kidney for free, through the UK National Health Service, to a person whom they do not know, but who is on the waiting list for an organ.

He said: “I knew that 7,000 people are waiting for a kidney and that one person dies almost every day while waiting.“I couldn’t have lived with myself with the knowledge that I had had the chance of changing someone’s life and turned it down.”

The operation, which took three hours, was carried out at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, UK in 2012.Tests at the hospital had previously revealed that Mr Crace’s kidneys functioned as well as those of someone in their forties.

The altruistic living donor kidney scheme was implemented in the UK in 2006, since when nearly 100 men and women have given one of their healthy kidneys to a stranger. In 2011 a further 1,000 gave a kidney to a close relative or friend.

What was more interesting  to us is that then they interviewed the recipient of the kidney.Normally donor and recipient remain anonymous. However, because Of what Mr Crace did and how old he was, his kidney donation got into the National Newspapers.  At the same time recipient of the kidney, Veronica Reynolds, was lying in hospital in Sheffield waiting a kidney being sent up for her from a hospital in the south of the UK when she read and heard what Mr Crace did and wondered if it was to be her kidney from him.

Months later she received, via the hospital postal service, a Christmas Card. This she said was unusual for her to receive, because she is a Jehovah's Witness. The sender's name had been crossed out/re-dacted to remain anonymous. However, the card was sent from a charity called St Michael's Hospice and when she looked it up on the Internet, this charity was founded by Mr Nicholas Crace, the man she recognised from the Radio/newspaper interviews. She looked the charity up on the Internet and as trustee of the charity, his address was there. She sent him a letter of thanks for his donated kidney. She said that she regarded her kidney as "more Precious to her than Coral" - sort of quoting a scripture in Proverbs from RNWT or Byingtons translation. She explained to listeners how dangerous in Bible times getting coral and pearls was, because people back then didn't have diving gear/breathing aparatus, so had to hold their breath and couldn't go down as deep to get pearls and coral as we can today. So coral was as precious as rubies.

DJ and reporter/interviewer on the radio Jeremy Vine then asked how poorly she was when she got news that she had a matching kidney offered to her. She said that she had poorly kidneys since being a child and from the year 2000 she had had both of them removed. She was on regular dialysis every few days and was so tired she was very limited with her life. Since the year 2000, she had been turned down for operations to transplant a kidney by a couple of hospitals because they would not do them without a Blood Transfusion. Then Sheffield hospital said that they could do it without a Blood Transfusion and that's where she got Mr Crace's donated kidney, for which she was so grateful. It had changed her life and she could do so many normal things now.

She then recounted how after sending the Thank You letter to Mr Crace, she had decided to find his telephone number in the Portsmouth Directory. She rang him and to prove that she wasn't a 'scammer', she told him that she was the lady who had received something from him "more precious than coral".He recognised her phrase and they organised to meet up and she went down to meet him with her family and a great friendship between her and her family and Mr Crace ensued. In fact they both agreed on the radio that it was more than friendship - more of a kinship. 

This was such an uplifting radio interview and afterwards so many people phoned in/emailed/twittered/ facebook commented how encouraged and uplifted they were having listened to it.

 It's part of this program at about an hour and 9 minutes into the broadcast:




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