Last night I was told that my Grandad’s sister, Aunty Pat, has inoperable lung cancer. She is one of the most inspirational people I know. She- is/was?- a cancer survivor who worked tirelessly with the Lyndale Centre in Knowsley (www.lyndalecancersupport.co.uk) to improve quality of life for other cancer patients. Before she herself was diagnosed she knew the disease all too well as she supported her daughter Helen through it. Helen’s was diagnosed with cancer twice, and treated successfully but during reconstructive surgery fell victim to the MRSA ‘superbug’ and died at 32. That was over ten years ago now and, incredibly to me, Pat has remained strong, altruistic and endlessly compassionate.
So… When I see a young man looking for something to save his health- to save his mother going through what Pat went through- and, theoretically I could give it to him… The proposition strikes me as an absolute no brainer. What better way to honour my Aunty? And what better gift can I give to someone than more time to live?
Through tireless research (honestly…) it transpires that donors and recipients need to be matched on blood and tissue types. I imagine that the chances of me being a match with @pucknbass are very slim. He lives in Canada which has been a dream destination of mine ever since I got into Twin Peaks so I’ll be more than tempted to travel if I am! However even if I don’t match him there are around 7000 people in the UK on the waiting list at any given moment so it stands to reason I’ll find someone to take my spare?
Pretty soon I’m going to have to discuss this with my partner. This will be a hard job, we’re very different people. I will presume that I’ll brush off the operation, he’ll think it’s not worth the risk. I am a mother so it’s not great practice to put myself up for unnecessary procedures and, yeah, if one of my boys ever needs a kidney I won’t have one to give. But I work on the assumption that neither of them will, and if they do- well I’m not the only family member, and there’s altruistic strangers like me (who are only a click away on sites like http://www.matchingdonors.com) and to be frank I’m well expecting organs to be custom grown from stem cells in laboratories by the time they reach adulthood so I’m just not over-worried.
Tonight I’m signing up for that site, tomorrow I’m sorting out the tests I need or an appointment with my GP so he can sort out the tests I need. Then hopefully before long I’ll be saving someone’s life- and with minimal effort, because let’s be honest, laying down on the operating table will be a luxury for a mum of two preschool children who usually spends about 20 hours a day on her feet.