Catherine McCarley’s Story

When people hear I have donated a kidney to a stranger the first question they ask is “WHY?”.

It all started a few years ago when I was involved in research with patients living with kidney disease. I was moved by the every day challenges they had to endure as they faced endless sessions of dialysis, diet and fluid restrictions, depression and a limited social life just to stay alive. However it wasn’t until I watched a television documentary and heard that it was now legal to donate to a stranger that I decided this was something I could do now. As I am a registered organ donor it just seemed logical to me to donate now to make sure at least one of my organs could do some good, after all who knows how I will die and it may be  my organs won’t be salvageable .

The process of evaluation to determine if I would be a suitable donor took about one year. During this time I had a thorough medical, surgical and psychological assessment or MOT as I called it, none of which was anything to fear as no pain was involved and all the procedures were explained in detail in advance. My only anxiety was the fear of being told somewhere along the evaluation process that I wasn’t suitable to donate but I was given a clean bill of health and all that was left to do was to find me a compatible recipient.

Due to the excellent medical and nursing care my recovery after the operation was  uneventful and my stay in hospital was about 5 days. During this time I met patients who had just had transplants and patients waiting for transplants, an opportunity I have never had before and this contact reinforced for me the importance of promoting organ donation. To know that my kidney has given someone their life back has enriched mine beyond all expectations.


Catherine McCarley