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‘I can’t say thank you enough for my kidney swap’

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youth worker has described his “new lease of life” after taking part in a kidney swap scheme.

Darrel Robinson’s kidney function deteriorated over three decades due to a long-term condition called glomerulonephritis, which leads to damage to the tiny filters inside the kidneys.

Around two years ago, the 59-year-old from Castleford, West Yorkshire, was told that his kidney function had dipped to just 14% and that it was time to start considering a transplant or to be put on dialysis.

His wife’s friend Hayley McCarthy, 38, from Wakefield, heard of his plight and offered to be tested to see if she was a match and could donate one of her kidneys.

Hayley McCarthy with her husband and children (Family handout/PA)

But the mother-of-two was incompatible with Mr Robinson – which can occur when a donor’s blood or tissue type does not match that of the organ recipient.

So medics at St James’s renal unit at Leeds Hospital told them about a kidney pairing scheme.

When someone in need of a kidney has a willing donor but they incompatible, it may be possible for them to be “matched” with another couple in a similar situation and for the donor kidneys to be “exchanged” or “swapped”.

A similar couple were found and the swap was arranged.

The pair had the surgeries on February 11 and are recovering well.

Hayley McCarthy (Family handout/PA)

They have spoken about the experience on World Kidney Day, as NHS officials have revealed almost 4,600 people are currently waiting for a kidney donation in the UK.

Mr Robinson, a father-of-one, told the PA news agency: “I’d been ill for a number of years, probably for about 30 years my kidneys had been depreciating as a result of something called glomerulonephritis.

“My kidney function got to 14% and my doctor told me I would need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

“My wife was having a conversation with her friend Hayley and without any thinking Hayley wanted to step forward and be tested (to see if she was a match).”

But to their disappointment Mrs McCarthy was not a match so they decided to take part in the kidney sharing scheme.

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