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Scots dad 'just wants his life back' as he struggles to find kidney donor

A Scots dad says he "just wants his life back" as he hunts for a kidney donor.

Graeme Smith, 40, was diagnosed with kidney disease IgA nephropathy in 2017 after a family trip to Salou. The dad-of-four, from Blantyre in Lanarkshire, arrived home feeling unwell and suffered extreme swelling in his legs. Following a trip to A&E, doctors found his blood pressure to be dangerously high, resulting in tests which led to his diagnosis.

Graeme is now "grateful" as he undergoes dialysis treatment, however, he says a transplant would "greatly improve" he and his family's quality of life. His wife, Julie Smith, told Glasgow Live : "Graeme's condition has progressed quickly over the last six years, instead of progressing over 10 to 20 years it's reached full kidney failure within six years.

"The fistula in his arm for dialysis is proving problematic too as it's putting pressure on his heart and it's pumping too much blood through it which could cause heart failure.

"Graeme is due to undergo surgery over the summer to help this, but coming off dialysis entirely would be the best outcome for his overall health."

Graeme Smith pictured with Julie on their wedding day
Graeme Smith pictured with Julie on their wedding day

Graeme started dialysis in March and has been on the deceased donor list since January, but doctors say it could be up to five years until they find a donor. Both Julie, 33, and her mum went for testing but unfortunately neither of them are a match.

He is now exhausting all routes and is hunting for a living donor which he says will give him the best chance to "be here for his sons growing up".

Graeme and Julie share four young sons together and he worries how this will affect their time as a family.

He said: "I am so grateful for my dialysis treatment keeping me alive but a transplant would greatly improve my own and my family’s quality of life.

Graeme with his four young sons
Graeme with his four young sons

"I want to be here for my sons growing up and right now I am both mentally and physically exhausted with the toll that dialysis is taking on my health, I feel I am only just surviving through each day. A transplant would truly mean getting my life back."

Graeme's sudden diagnosis has taken a toll on the family as it consumes his everyday life. He described himself as "hardworking" and was previously a supervisor in a factory, before being hit by the crippling condition.

Julie said: "If he didn't get a donor now he would maybe only last another few years. It was totally unexpected, it now consumes our life."

Graeme was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2017
Graeme was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2017

Graeme recently made an appeal online, reading: "Unfortunately, I have kidney failure . Over time, my health has gotten worse causing my kidneys not to work well enough to keep me alive.

"This is what I am facing now, and my treatment options are limited to dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant. However, finding a kidney for a transplant is not easy. Time is not on my side. Some people wait for years. Many die while waiting. The average wait time is five years or more for a kidney from a deceased donor. However, there is another option: receiving a kidney from a living donor.

"As you can imagine, Asking anyone to consider donating a kidney to me is difficult, but it greatly improves my chances of getting a transplant. A living kidney donation typically lasts longer and has better function."

If being a protentional living donor for Graeme is something you'd like to consider email [email protected] or call 01236 713180. For more information on living donor donation please visit here.

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