A Northampton transplant patient said he is grateful for being given the chance to beat cancer and undergo major surgery to insert an extra kidney.
Lewis Sander, aged 66, of Wheatfield Road, Abington is about to celebrate 25 years since getting a new heart on October 6.
He is now healthier than he was in his thirties, when he would struggle to walk to the shops.
And that is even after the drugs to stop his heart being rejected gave him cancer and kidney failure. As a result, he has kept his two broken kidneys and had an extra one inserted,
Mr Sander said: “All in all, despite everything I’m still grateful I even had the chance to go through all of this.
“Without the donor that gave me the new heart - and the generosity of his family - I wouldn’t be here 25 years later.
“It might sound strange but I’m glad I’m around to even have these health problems. They’ve given me more than you can give another person.”
Mr Sander is currently one of the longest surviving heart transplant patients in the country after being given a 50/50 chance of dying within five years of the surgery.
But he knows that,if the 26-year-old man whose heart he has had not thought about the difference he could make after his death, none of that would have been possible. He is also grateful for the decison that the man’s family made despite the trauma they had just suffered.
Mr Sander said his one regret about his heart transplant is that he did not take the chance to write to the man’s family.
He tried to contact the family of the woman who donated the replacement kidney and they chose not to reply, but he feels the family of his other donor might have felt differently.
He said: “I would have liked to have met them, but what I would say now I don’t know.
“‘Thank you’ is something you say when someone buys you a pint.
“It seems inadequate, but I’ll be saying my thank yous on October 6.”
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