19 September 2023

Husband reflects on life-saving gift from wife during organ donation week

David Marshall, who owns a refrigeration company in Sheffield, received a life-saving gift from his wife, Joanne, in the form of a kidney donation after suffering from kidney failure for six years.

David, now 49, was initially diagnosed with kidney failure when he was in his early 30’s and was told that he’d eventually need either a kidney transplant or dialysis.

“I didn’t have any of the usual symptoms of kidney failure at the time, but my GP picked up on it after a routine diabetes screening.”

David was referred to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield where, with regular monitoring of his health and support from the hospital team, he was able to manage the condition for the next six years.

In 2009 his kidney function had dropped to the point where he would begin to need dialysis, a procedure usually carried out 3 days a week to clean the blood when the kidneys have stopped working properly. His other option would be to have a kidney transplant.

“I began to pre-emptively look for a live donor and my father volunteered straight away to donate. Unfortunately, tests showed that he wouldn’t be suitable and so my wife, Jo, came forward to donate her kidney instead.”

Joanne was proven to be a suitable match and the transplant was scheduled for Monday 14th December of that year.

“I still felt quite well at the time and so when we walked into hospital on the Sunday it felt like we were walking into a Premier Inn.”

Following the transplant, Joanne was able to return home within the next few days whilst David was kept on the ward to continue to be monitored. Unfortunately, David’s body initially rejected the kidney and so he was given a treatment plan of immunosuppressive medication to help his body adjust to the new kidney.

After three weeks, David was given the all-clear to leave hospital on New Year’s Day 2010.

“The care of the staff on the ward was fantastic. It was such a close-knit team and because they are all specialist renal staff that tend to stick within that profession, they felt more like a family. Even now, when I go for check-ups, I still see the same people I saw when I first had my transplant.”

Both David and Joanne are both doing well and continue to have regular check-ups by the renal team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“I still get checked every three months and Jo at least once a year. I normally just need to give blood and if there are no issues, I don’t have to go into hospital, which makes it a lot easier.”

David now owns a refrigeration company in Sheffield and is also the Chair of Sheffield Area Kidney Association (SAKA), a charity that helps kidney patients and their families cope with kidney failure and raises money to support kidney research.

“After everything that happened to me, I wanted to get involved and give something back in any way I could. I always think that giving time is greater than money and so working for SAKA has allowed me to help where I can”.

To join the Organ Donation Register and declare your decision, please visit: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision/.


PHOTOS: David Marshall and wife Joanne


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