How willing are we to help total strangers?

(01 October, 2015) Editorials

Would you give up your kidney to someone you've never met?

5623Razlyn with son Ronaldo and daughter Asia in happier times before she got sick

The heart-breaking story of a single mum with kidney failure whose two young children are becoming her carers raises some difficult questions for the rest of us about what we are prepared to do to help a stranger.

If a loved one was in desperate need of a kidney to stay alive most of us would jump on the operating table, but what about for someone you’ve never met before?

Just down the road from where Razlyn Bromfield is struggling through three days of dialysis every week lives a remarkable woman, who has donated her Kidney and her eggs in the past and tried to donate part of her lung to total strangers.

Sue Gianstefani, of East Dulwich, is a walking endorsement of living, altruistic organ donation – to donate organs to strangers while you are still alive, just because you can help to transform someone’s life for the better.

“It’s a really fantastic way of helping people. It completely changes other people’s lives for minimal risk to your own life,” Sue told the News shortly after bagging a gold medal in this year’s British Transplant Games.

“Everybody’s overwhelmed with the world’s problems and we think there’s nothing we can do about it. This is one way we can actually do something positive.”

For Razlyn, a transplant is her only hope of getting off the dialysis machine and making sure her children can enjoy what is left of their childhood. But the sad truth is she may have a long wait, as organs from Black Minority Ethnic donors are hard to come by.

In the meantime, is it just down to Razlyn and the council to make sure her kids get to school every day and that they are fed at night? Perhaps we should all look to our neighbours a little more to see what we could do to help each other.

At the very least, if you haven’t registered for organ donation in the event of your death – that is something you could do today, which could save someone’s life.
For more information about organ donation visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

If you are interested in becoming a living donor you can find out more at www.morethanamatch.co.uk

Read Razlyn’s story here

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