A Lancaster woman has spoken of her kidney donor experience to try to encourage more people to become an organ donor.
Jan Shorrock donated her kidney as a non-directive donator, someone who is on the waiting list but is not a family member.
The 39-year-old explained 130 people so far have donated kidneys anonymously in the UK.
Although the procedure was painful, both physically and emotionally, Jan does not regret her decision and is urging others to help.
Jan, who is a freelance marketing manager, said: “There is an awful lot of people who need a kidney.
“The operation is done by keyhole surgery and it took about three to four hours.
“I felt better and almost back to normal within three weeks.
“I did get to talk to a lot of people on the ward who were in desperate need of one.
“I became aware very quickly how difficult it was for them, some are unable to work and get tired very easily as a result of kidney failure.
“The quality of life can be really poor, you don’t realise what a difference you can make.
“For me the benefits to someone’s life outweigh the risks of surgery.”
Though they have never met, Jan received a thank you letter off her donor.
Jan said: “The system is completely anonymous, you don’t know who you are helping,
“I received a letter to say thank you so I knew her name and the fact that it was successful and I knew it made a difference to her life but that was as much as I wanted to know.”
Jan was recently in Parliament, as part of the Give a Kidney charity, discussing the importance of organ donations with Lancaster MP Cat Smith.
To become an organ donor you must be over the age of 18 but Jan also explains a lot of research and discussion is also involved.
Jan said: “The hospital looks at your physical fitness and physiological side. It took me about seven months at least, you get a really thorough MOT.
“The biggest transplant donation is the kidney.
“Very people die with their organs intact, one percent can be used which is why living donations is the important part of the jigsaw.
“My sister couldn’t understand why I wanted to do it but she does a lot for charity and has jumped out of a plane.
“It is a similar thing, it’s a way of giving something to someone who needs it.”
To find out more about kidney donations visit http://www.giveakidney.org/.
If you are interested in becoming a donor visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/.