Second kidney transplant is keeping it in the family

The Oxford Times: Barnaby Kemp with his dad Tim Kemp, right, and his sister Victoria Hellon, left, pictured near his parent’s home in Bath.   Picture by Jay Williams Barnaby Kemp with his dad Tim Kemp, right, and his sister Victoria Hellon, left, pictured near his parent’s home in Bath. Picture by Jay Williams

HEADINGTON father Barnaby Kemp is now even closer to his family after two of them donated kidneys to him.

The 41-year-old this month received a kidney from his sister at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital – 13 years after his father gave him one.

He said: “We were already close, but it has definitely brought me closer to my family.”

The father-of-two was diagnosed with a kidney disorder in 1999 and said the donations from his relatives had saved him from having to go on dialysis.

His dad Tim, 75, who lives in Bath with wife Lesley, first donated a kidney in 2001 at Guy’s Hospital in London.

But Mr Kemp’s body started to reject the organ and he was told he needed another this year.

He said: “Originally they said it was going to last 16 months but it went on for 13 years.”

His sister Victoria Hellon, 45, then stepped forward to give up one of hers and doctors have said it should now last Mr Kemp 30 years.

Coffee roaster Mr Kemp, whose firm Ricochet is based in Northmoor, said: “For my sister to go ahead with it was a huge thing. The procedure is much more intrusive for the donor because having an organ removed when you are healthy is a pretty dramatic experience.

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“It is a massive thing, but there is almost an expectancy that they would do that. I know in a similar situation I would have done the same.”

The condition Mr Kemp suffers from is focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, which means scars form inside kidney filters and cause problems with keeping toxins out of the blood. It will lead to high blood pressure and can cause nausea and eventually kidney failure.

Mr Kemp, of New High Street – who is facing a two- to three-month recovery – now has four kidneys inside him.

He said: “My native ones will be tiny. They do not have any function and they slowly break up. They are probably about the size of walnuts now.”

Mr Kemp, who moved to Headington in 2012 to be closer to the Churchill Hospital, urged people to put themselves on the organ donor register and said the country should adopt the “opt-out” policy where people have to come forward to say if they do not want to be a donor when they die.

He said: “There are countless people who say they would sign up to be a donor, but they never get round to doing it.”

And he praised the work of the Churchill Hospital staff, adding: “A lot of people are down on the NHS, but I find their medical work really second to none.”

Sanjay Sinham, transplant surgeon at the hospital, said it was not uncommon for family members to donate to a relative.

He said: “It is seen as the ultimate gift that anyone can give another human being.

“Essentially you are giving that person a better chance at life.”

  • From April 2012 to April 2013, about 3,000 kidney transplants were carried out in the UK, but there were still more than 6,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney by the end of that period.

Currently 55 people are in need of a kidney transplant in Oxfordshire.

There are 425 in the county awaiting organ transplants.

He said 40 per cent of kidney transplants done at the hospital were from living donors – most of them friends or family.

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