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Angus man whose life was saved by organ donor to tick off top bucket list item

Gavin Frost is now living life to the full after receiving a kidney transplant.
Gavin Frost is now living life to the full after receiving a kidney transplant.

An Angus man given a lifesaving organ transplant at Christmas has pledged to tick off a bucket list item which was almost impossible just months ago — a 10,000ft skydive.

Gavin Frost, from Montrose, received the gift of a lifetime when a donor left him a new kidney in December last year.

And half a year later the 30-year-old is now the most fit and healthy he has been in his adult life — so much so he wants to throw himself out of a plane to prove it.

Gavin said: “I’m definitely doing it.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of but there’s no way I could have done it before my transplant.

“I’d have been too weak and probably passed out.”

‘I looked like the walking dead’

Gavin suffered from chronic renal failure (CRF) and reflux and his kidneys were so small they were akin to garden peas.

Gavin hopes to do a skydive after receiving his transplant.

Doctors discovered the condition when, as a teenager, Gavin tried to donate one of his kidneys to his poorly sister, who later recovered after finding a different donor.

He was also diagnosed with Gitelman’s syndrome, a rare illness causing the loss of nutrients.

It led to 12 years of struggles including 15 hours of crucial dialysis a week. It meant his quality of life was severely affected.

But now his face is full of colour, he has more energy, and his kidney function can reach as high as 65% compared to just 10% before.

Gavin said: “I was getting pain every day before whereas I don’t have much at all now — just some from the surgery.

“I was self-conscious about how I looked too because I was really pale and I just looked ill.

“I looked like the walking dead. It didn’t bother me that much that it would stop me doing anything but I obviously prefer how I look now.

“It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

His road to recovery started with a shock phone call from the NHS on December 16 to inform him a kidney was available, which he thought was a joke at first.

After taking half an hour to let the news sink in, he was whisked away in a taxi to hospital in Edinburgh to have the surgery just hours later.

Three days on he was walking and after a month he had mostly recovered with his kidney functioning well.

Organ donation life-changing

Laws around organ donation changed in March this year, creating a new opt-out system.

Gavin just days after his surgery in December

If someone dies in circumstances where they could become a donor and have not recorded a donation decision, it may be assumed they are willing to donate their organs and tissue for transplantation.

Previously, people had to take the decision to opt-in by joining the organ donor register, meaning potentially thousands more organs will now be available.

An emotional Gavin added: “If organ donation didn’t exist there would be a whole lot less people in the world who could have gotten another chance in life.

“I think that’s quite sad. I would ask people to think about that and not opt-out.”

To find out more about organ donation, visit the NHS’s dedicated website.

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