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#OrganDonationWeek – a personal and profound story

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Apprentice paramedic Edward Dodd of the East of England Ambulance Services shares his personal story as part of #OrganDonationWeek.

He says: “I am Edward, although most people call me Ted. I am 27 and had a kidney transplant in May 2020, during the first COVID-19 lockdown. 

“I was born with only one kidney but was told I could live a healthy life with only one. However, aged 12, I became extremely unwell and was told my one kidney had failed.

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“My parents were told to prepare for the worst, and I was placed on 10 hours of dialysis per day. Aged 13, I was extremely fortunate to receive my first kidney transplant.

“It came from a man who I had never met and who I would never be able to thank. In his death, he saved a number of lives. Mine was one of them. 

“My life was transformed, and I went on to join the East of England Ambulance Service in a bid to focus my energy on helping others in my community.

“My first transplant kidney lasted 12 years until, in 2019, it began to weaken and started to shut down. I returned to dialysis three times weekly while maintaining my job with the ambulance service. Then COVID-19 appeared, and it was no longer safe for me to be at work. 

“In March 2019, I was stood down from frontline duties and continued with dialysis while working from home.

“At the end of my dialysis session one night towards the end May 2020, my phone rang. It was the transplant coordinator. 

“’We have a kidney here for you, Ted – how quickly can you get here?’

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“I made a phone call first to my mum, then to my operational manager. He was incredible; meeting me at home, helping me pack a bag and rushing me to the hospital. 

“The hospital was deserted at that time in the height of the first wave of COVID-19. It was a surreal experience, but my manager ensured I got to the transplant ward in time.

“The operation went ahead that night without issue and the next morning I woke up with a brand-new kidney and a completely transformed life. After only a week in hospital, I returned home to start my recovery. 

“In early 2021 I returned to work full-time for the ambulance service and am now studying for my degree. The kidney is performing brilliantly well, and I could not ask for more. 

“Since receiving my second kidney, I have been able to thank the dialysis team who kept me going until the time I could have a transplant. I have been able to thank the surgical team who performed the operation itself and who have looked after me since.

“The only person I have been unable to thank, for the second time, is my donor.

“The power of organ donation is unmatched. It has given me my life back. Twice.”

To register, visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision/

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