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Britain's oldest living kidney donor is mentoring other organ donors
BRITAIN’S oldest living person to donate a kidney is now mentoring other organ donors.
Last year, The Gazette reported how Nicholas Crace, from Overton, joined a group of only 100 people known as “altruistic donors”, who give a kidney to a person they have never met. At the age of 83, this selfless act made him the oldest living person in the UK to donate a kidney. Now 84, Mr Crace has begun mentoring organ donors at Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth, where he had the surgery to remove his kidney. He has also produced a pamphlet about his experience.
The former charity director, of The Lynch, Overton, gave his kidney to a mystery recipient on the NHS waiting list in April 2012, following the death of his wife Brigid in 2011. Afterwards, he said: “I couldn’t have lived with myself with the knowledge that I had the chance of changing someone’s life and had turned it down.
“I knew that 7,000 people are waiting for a kidney, and that one person dies almost every day while waiting.”
Mr Crace donated blood up until the age of 70, when donors are no longer accepted, and then looked into giving bone marrow, but found the cut-off age is 40. When he discovered there is no age limit for kidney donation, he looked into the idea and tests revealed his kidneys functioned as well as those of someone in their 40s. His story has since inspired another person to join the rare group of altruistic donors, and he has been sharing his own experience of the process.
Mr Crace said: “I wouldn’t dream of advising anyone – I will leave that job to the medics. But when people think of giving a kidney, they are a bit bewildered because they don’t know what’s involved and where to go and what’s going to happen.”
He added: “It’s nice to be able to be useful when you are as ancient as me. I enjoy chatting to other donors. They are all extremely nice people.”
Mr Crace is extremely modest when it comes to donating his kidney. He said: “It’s not a big deal. I didn’t know I could do it, but I could. I was very lucky that I didn’t have any pain. There are no ill effects. I think I feel fitter than I did a year ago. “I was so determined to go through with it that I got myself on a regime of cycling and walking, so I really am quite fit now.”