Organ donor's family found 'just down the road'

Simon Elmore
Image caption Simon fulfilled a promise to present a Transplant Games gold medal to the donor's family

A man who waited seven years for a kidney transplant, then found his donor had lived just a few miles away, has thanked the family.

Simon Elmore, from Belper, Derbyshire, received the organ two years ago and said it transformed his life.

He has become an active campaigner for donation and won medals at the World Transplant Games.

The widow of donor John Laight, from Draycott, said Mr Elmore's success gave her "goosebumps".

Image caption Simon Elmore (centre with bottle) campaigns for more people to join the donor scheme

Mr Elmore, 42, suffered a number of health problems connected to diet and lifestyle but his kidneys failed at 33.

After a wait nearly three times the 2.5-year average, he got a transplant which changed his outlook completely.

  • Nearly 6,500 people on UK organ transplant waiting list - 5,000 need a kidney
  • In 2015-16, 1,364 people became organ donors, resulting in 3,519 transplants
  • On average three people die every day in the UK in need of an organ transplant
  • NHS Organ Donor Register contains more than 23 million people

Source: NHS Blood and Transplant

He said: "My first thought was 'I have to go and thank [the family of] my donor, wherever, whoever, they are'.

"I promised myself I would give them my first gold medal from the World Transplant Games."

Initial contact via the transplant service showed they were only "15 miles down the road" and now they have met up.

Image caption Carol Laight said her husband John would have been "chuffed" to help a local person

Me Elmore said: "They are my heroes. They had the conversation [about donation] years ago so it was out in the open."

Carol Laight said: "They brought teams in from all over the country but we had no idea where they would go - John would have been chuffed it was a local lad.

"It gives me goosebumps because Simon is doing the things John always wanted to do but never managed."

A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: "Organs are allocated according to clinical need and compatibility, so the person most in need of a transplant and best matched to that organ will receive it, no matter whether they live locally or far away.

"However, if there are equally well-matched patients in different parts of the country, it may go to the patient nearest."

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