A father-of-three has donated his kidney for the sake of a complete stranger. Steven Norrie, 36, agreed to have major surgery to remove the organ despite not knowing who the recipient will be.
Steven, who is father to Caleb, six, Laughlan, 10, and Maisie, 12, had to undergo 10 months of assessment by doctors including an ECG, MRI and ultra-sound scans, blood testing and even a psychological interview.
He said he feels ‘incredibly lucky’ to be in a position to donate his kidney and hopes it will make ‘a massive difference’.
Steven, of Whalley Road, Altham West, said: "I have got good health, a loving family and children and I wanted to give something back.
"You donate money to charities and you know you are getting that warm feeling but this is going to make a massive difference to a person and their family and friends. And then everyone of the kidney list is one step closer to getting a donor. It’s a pretty cool thing.
"It’s something I will have done and no-one can take that away from me. It’s a short-term inconvenience for me but in the long run it’s going to change someone’s life in a big way."
Steven originally planned to do charity work in Peru for a year but said he would miss his children too much.
He decided to undergo the operation after reading an article in a national newspaper. Altruistic kidney donation – giving up the organ to someone who is neither a friend nor a relative – has only been legal in this country since 2006. Of the 1,000 kidney transplants carried out each year only around 40 are from altruistic donors.
Steven, who works as an operations controller for First Rail Support, said: "There are 7,000 people currently waiting for a kidney and on average three people a day die who are on the organ register.
"I don’t drink and I go to the gym regularly and try to look after myself. The reality is that I only need one kidney. When you take one out the other one grows slightly and takes over its function.
"The NHS will cover loss of earnings whether you are donating altruistically or to a family member. It’s more cost effective for them as the operation costs and medication would be about £20,000 whereas to put someone on dialysis for a year would cost £50,000."
After undergoing surgery Steven will now spend the next 12 weeks off work to recover and is appreciative off all the support he has received from his family and employer.
"My employer has been 100 per cent supportive in giving me the time off and my ex-wife Donna is also very supportive and agreed to look after the kids for the next 12 weeks. There’s a lot of help that’s gone into this.
"Hopefully I’ll be back soon as I want to take part in a marathon in Dublin in October."