500 people in UK have donated kidney to save stranger's life
MORE than 500 people in Britain and Northern Ireland have donated one of their kidneys to save a stranger's life, according to new figures.
Data from NHS Blood and Transplant shows 509 people have given their kidneys to someone they do not know since living organ donation became legal in 2006.
Giving a kidney to a stranger now makes up 8 per cent of all living kidney donations, with other live donations coming from family and close friends.
The majority of kidney donations still come from deceased donors.
Despite the figures, 5,338 people remain on the transplant list waiting for a new kidney or a combined kidney and pancreas transplant.
John Forsythe of NHS Blood and Transplant said: "As a surgeon, when you are retrieving a kidney from an altruistic donor, you are very aware they do not need the operation themselves.
"They have instead volunteered to make a special contribution by saving or improving the life of someone who they will probably never know.
"These are spontaneous and voluntary offers of donation, motivated by a decision to do something genuinely good for someone in need.
"When the Human Tissue Act was passed into law many of us thought few people would come forward to do this. We are now amazed and very grateful that so many people have chosen to donate a kidney to a stranger."
There were 83 altruistic kidney donations during 2015/16, down on the 107 in 2014/15.
In 2015/2016, 1,035 living kidney donor transplants were performed in the UK.
Former Derry GAA star Joe Brolly has led a high-profile campaign in Ireland for an 'opt-out' system of organ donation after donating a kidney to clubmate Shane Finnegan in 2012.
The kidney later had to be removed due to complications.