BBC commentator Richard Pitman donates kidney to stranger

Richard Pitman talks about his operation and the decision to donate.

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Would you consider donating one of your kidneys to a complete stranger? That is what BBC racing commentator Richard Pitman has done.

The former jockey was moved to undertake the altruistic donation after seeing one his close friends benefit from a kidney transplant.

Mr Pitman does not know who received the organ, but the kidney transplant was successful and the person has now been able to stop dialysis.

He said the life of his friend, Tim Gibson, was transformed by his transplant two years ago.

Kidney donation in the UK

  • 6,492 people are currently on the waiting list for kidney-only transplants
  • There have been 7,355 living kidney transplants since 2002
  • 1 in 3 kidney transplants come from a living donor
  • There have been only 93 non-directed altruistic living kidney donations

SOURCE: NHSBT

"Tim is a big, strong guy and I saw him slowly withering away over several years as the dialysis took its toll.

"Eventually he was fortunate enough to get a kidney transplant and it turned his life around. I decided I wanted to help anyone who was suffering the way Tim had been."

Mr Pitman's recovery has gone well. He plans to return to work commenting on races at the end of the month and is hoping to race in the veterans race at the Grand National this April.

Although humans are born with two kidneys, a person can function normally with only one and living kidney donations are becoming more common.

Kidney transplant box There are 23 kidney transplant centres in the UK

All potential donors are carefully monitored for several months on both medical and psychological grounds.

Sally Johnson, the director of organ donation for the NHS said: "Living kidney donation currently helps to transform around three patients' lives every day in the UK."

Mr Pitman's operation took three and a half hours and he was released from the hospital after two days.

He said: "There was a huge team involved in the operation, I'm just glad to have played my small part and to have helped someone who was suffering."

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