An Angus man has spoken of his joy after receiving a shock kidney transplant for Christmas — 12 years after selflessly trying to donate his own to save his sister’s life.
Gavin Frost discovered he had the same debilitating condition as Carrieann when putting himself forward to help his beloved sibling in 2008.
Though Carrieann found a perfect match five years ago, struggling Gavin had to wait until now and was spending much of his life in hospital.
He was receiving 15 hours of dialysis per week but was recently whisked away for a sudden deceased-donor transplant.
The 30-year-old left hospital just days before Christmas after a successful operation and vowed the incredible gift “will never be topped”.
“I can never repay this person or their family”, he said.
“I am really happy but I’m also sad because it means they have lost someone they loved. That has been a difficult thing to process.”
Kidneys the ‘size of garden peas’
Doctors discovered Gavin, like older sister Carrieann, 38, had chronic renal failure (CRF) and reflux during assessment to see if he could act as a donor.
The condition means kidney function is significantly impaired and Gavin’s organs were described by doctors as “the size of garden peas”.
He was also diagnosed with Gitelman’s syndrome, a rare illness meaning the loss of nutrients.
It meant he was unable to work because the three-times-weekly dialysis left his energy levels wiped out.
He was left so tired he had to leave his own wedding early after reciting his vows.
A shock phone call from the NHS on December 16 however saw him picked up in a taxi at around 5am and taken to hospital in Edinburgh where he had surgery.
He is now back home with his wife Shannon while they look after her mother in Arbroath.
The pair moved in with her from their home in Montrose temporarily during the pandemic.
‘Organ donors have saved both my life and my sister’s life’
Gavin said: “My life was basically going to dialysis and sleeping. It was tough.
“My mum actually said ‘you never know, you might get a kidney for Christmas’.
“When they called me in the middle of the night, I thought it was a joke.
“This person has given me back something I had lost. I will be forever grateful.
“Organ donors have saved both my life and my sister’s life.”
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.
It is commonly referred to as an ‘opt out’ system and will apply to most adults resident in Scotland.
Gavin added: “I would just ask people to consider organ donation. I want to raise awareness so that more people’s lives can be saved.
“I hope the family that helped me can be proud of what I am doing. The gift they gave me is so precious.”