A radiographer at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, who donated a kidney to one of his student placement trainers whom he hadn’t seen for more than five years, is campaigning for more living donors to come forward.
PACS Manager at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Ali Golian, wants to raise awareness about organ donation and kidney donation in particular.
“I want to dispel misconceptions about donation and for more people to see donors as living examples - just like me. I can do everything I did before the transplant and live my life to the full.”
While studying at London South Bank University, Ali went on placement to King’s College Hospital, where he met Sonia Leonardo. Although he had been connected with her on social media for some time since then, they had not been in regular contact.
Last year, he saw a Facebook notification about her kidney disease and immediately got in touch with an offer to be tested. After proving to be a match, he donated his kidney to Sonia in a life-saving operation.
Sonia was born with polycystic kidney disease - a genetic disorder in which abnormal cysts develop and grow in the kidneys. The condition, which is also suffered by her twin sister Susana, gradually got worse until her function reduced to just six per cent.
“There are 5500 people on the transplant list at the moment,” Ali said.
“I wanted to raise awareness and disprove the misbelief about leading a normal life if you donate.
“I love campaigning for donation now and at King’s I am involved with events designed to raise more awareness. I am also part of the peer group, which means I can be contacted by any potential donors who have questions and I offer support.
“Sonia is now dialysis free and it’s such a huge change in her lifestyle from having dialysis five times a day. We’re in touch everyday now and it feels like I’ve gained the sister I always wanted,” Ali says.
During her speech at the Conservative Party conference in October, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that England will change to an opt-out system for organ donation. A public consultation is currently underway
Article originally published by The Society of Radiographers