Why I donated a kidney to a stranger

NET DOCTOR | As told to Natalie Healey

Jan, 40, on giving the most extraordinary gift to someone she'd never met

Jan Shorrock donated a kidney in 2013
Someone dies every day waiting for a new kidney. The transplant waiting list is incredibly long. That's due to a shortage of people who are signed up to be donors in the first place, but also because very few people die in circumstances where their organs are suitable for transplant.

But we only need one functional kidney to live a perfectly normal life, which is why relatives of people who need one often donate if they are found to be a match. You don't have to be related to someone with kidney disease in order to donate, though. Since 2006, altruistic kidney donation, where a volunteer gives away a kidney to someone who needs it, without knowledge of who will receive it, has been legal. Nowadays, more than 100 people donate the organ to people they've never met every year.

We spoke to Jan Shorrock, 40, from Lancaster, who donated in 2013, about her experience:

"I heard a piece about altruistic kidney donation on BBC Radio 4 driving into work one morning. But until that point, I wasn't aware it was something people could do. In the past I'd given blood and this really lit a spark. So I did a bit of research and over the next year or so, the idea kept coming back to me. And I became aware that a lot of people needed help and how the big the waiting list was. And I wanted to be someone who did something about this rather than step back." Continue reading