More than 500 people in Scotland have helped transform the lives of patients over the past decade by becoming living donors.
Patients on the transplant list can wait an average of three years for a kidney from a deceased donor.
And the NHS Blood and Transplant organisation has said that, in general, patients who receive a living donor transplant will live longer than those who receive a kidney from someone who has died.
The organ is only taken from living donors when the team is satisfied that the long and short term risks to that person are low.
A healthy person can lead a completely normal life with only one working kidney.
Almost 500 people in Scotland are currently waiting for this type of transplant and more than 5,000 in the UK are on the National Transplant List.
Kidneys can be donated by a family member or friend, known as a directed donor, or they can be gifted by a complete stranger as long as it’s a match – which is known as altruistic donation.
Those who choose to begin the process will be assigned a co-ordinator or specialist nurse who will be their main point of contact and will be there to guide them through every step of the process.
Consultant kidney doctor at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dave Walbaum, said: “We look after a lot of people with chronic kidney disease who need dialysis and we know that by far the best option for them is to receive a kidney from a living donor.
“They tend to work better and last longer than organs that have come from deceased donors.
“Any transplant is good and a far better option than dialysis but getting one from a living donor is the gold standard.
“The outcomes are fantastic and most people who go through it have absolutely no regrets.
“For the patient, a transplant is as close as we can get them to a normal life.
“Other than taking drugs to stop their body rejecting the organ, they can live pretty much normally.
“For everyone that signs up to donate, we carry out a detailed assessment of their health before they can be considered.”
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There are no age restrictions for people signing up to the scheme and tests will be carried out to ensure they are healthy enough to donate and that their kidneys are working properly.
The average waiting time for a transplant from a deceased donor for children is between six to 12 months, but for some children it can take up to five years.
Living donors for kids are more likely to involve a close relative, with parents being the most usual donors.
The organ is removed under general anaesthetic, often through keyhole surgery, and takes around two to three hours to complete.
Kieana Cocker, 21, from Tillydrone, received a kidney from her dad Willie, after she was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome – a condition which would cause holes to form in her own organs.
She underwent a life-saving six-hour operation in December 2003 at the age of six.
Fourteen years later she needed a new transplant with the help of a cadaveric donor.
Kieana said: “I received my last transplant on January 30, 2018. I was on dialysis for about two years before receiving the call that they had found a match.
“During that period, I had family members and friends come forward to be tested and we found a match with my uncle and had set the date for April.
“In January, I received what I can only describe as the most terrifying and life-changing call you can ever receive, basically letting me know that I needed to get down to Edinburgh as soon as possible because they had the perfect match.
“I cried the whole way down and had so many mixed emotions. We got the go ahead at 8pm the next day and I made my way to my new life.
“Organ donation is truly amazing and really does change your life.
“You can go from spending most of your day hooked to a machine to being able to get up in the morning to do day-to-day things without needing to worry about set times to be back on to do your next exchange on your dialysis.
“Now that I’m older I understand a lot more and there are no words to describe how thankful we are to the family of the loved one who sadly passed away and gave me a second chance at life.
“It’s truly amazing how much it changes your life and how are are as a person.”