Karen Smith and her husband Darren have a particular reason to be looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year…
"This Valentine's Day will be incredibly special as my husband is giving me the ultimate gift - one of his kidneys. When I first met him, my mum was very ill with kidney disease and pneumonia. We hadn't been together long but he offered to babysit my two children from a previous relationship while I visited her. She recovered from pneumonia and went on to see us get married ten years ago, (mum always said he was a keeper!)
He is definitely proving that this Valentine's Day; he is giving me another chance at life and having seen how much kidney disease affected my mum I think it has made the decision easier for him. I can't thank him enough."
Darren adds, “Even though she hides her symptoms from most people, I see how she suffers. What I want more than anything is to see her with more energy again. The transplant has been arranged for Valentine's Day and I can't think of a better date to show my love to her.”
There are almost 5,000 people like Karen waiting for a kidney in the UK; more than the total number of people waiting for any other organ combined. This year NHS Blood and Transplant have launched a campaign calling for people to consider donating a kidney to someone in need, be they a stranger, friend or loved one.