Your story – live kidney donor and Team GB athlete Tim Abercrombie

14th March 2019

Live donor and Team GB athlete Tim Abercrombie and his daughter Charlotte.

My daughter Charlotte was born in 1998 with many complications and has undergone many operations in her lifetime. One such complication was that she was born with only 1 kidney which was only working at 20%.

Doctors said her quality of life would be poor and didn’t expect her to live long but if she did they expected her to need haemodialysis by the time she was 4, and true to their predictions she began dialysis in her 4th year.

She was put on the organ donor register awaiting a suitable donor as her mam was not suitable to donate her kidney due to health issues, and I was told I couldn’t as I was the wrong blood type.

So followed 4 long and stressful years for Charlotte, Margaret (her mam and carer) and the family as she endured 3 very long days per week travelling the 80 miles round trip to Newcastle RVI via hospital taxis and up to 5 hours on dialysis – all the time hoping and praying for the call that a kidney match had been found. But that call never came!

However, a very different and unexpected call was received informing me that due to medical advances it may be possible for me to donate my kidney and would I consider being tested. I jumped at the chance and after many tests it was found that my blood type A2 and tissue type was close enough to Charlotte’s O type, and that the transplant could go ahead. I was told after that I was the first in the North East to undergo this procedure.

So on 21st September 2006, after 4 years on haemodialysis, Charlotte who was then 8, received a kidney transplant which totally changed her life and the lives of her close family and friends. The fact that after medical advances I was finally able to give her my kidney, and the chance for her to live a near normal life is probably the most special thing I have ever done or ever will do.

In October 2010 my wife Margaret suddenly died and I was asked to give permission for her organs to be used. As we were both great advocates of organ donation and knew each other’s wishes I immediately agreed. The fact that she was on the NHS Organ Donor Register meant her last gift was to save/change the lives of 8 strangers. These included 6 and 8 week old baby boys who received heart patches that saved their lives and a 71 year old lady who received a kidney. As the years go by the knowledge that Margaret lives on in those people gives me great comfort

It is now over 12 years since Charlotte’s transplant and we are both doing really well. Charlotte is coming up 21 and is at Sheffield Hallam University studying Children and Young Adult Social Care and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I take part in the annual Westfield Health British Transplant Games in the live donor events and have won medals for my Team “Newcastle Adults” and this year have the honour of representing Team GB&NI in the World Transplant Games in the Live Donor Athletics events at NewcastleGateshead. I’m excited about competing against, as well as meeting and supporting well over 1000 live donor and transplant recipients from over 54 countries from around the world, and being part of the whole week’s events.

You can help me raise money for this great cause by donating directly to my fundraising page

If you aren’t already registered, please consider signing up to the NHS Organ Donor register and most importantly of all. “Have the conversation” with your loved ones so they know of your wishes to donate.

Tim Abercrombie