Leeds & West Yorkshire

Transplant patient among nine featured in Leeds exhibition

Mark Cahill
Image caption Mark Cahill lost the use of his hand after suffering from gout

A man who had the UK's first hand transplant and went on to save his wife's life with it is one of nine people featured in a new exhibition.

Nine patients who have had their lives transformed by organ donation were photographed for Nine Lives Saved - The Transplant Gallery in Leeds.

Mark Cahill, 58, of Halifax, had a transplant in 2012 - and used his new hand to give CPR to his wife Sylvia.

The exhibition highlights how each of us could potentially save nine lives.

Dr Claire Tordoff, clinical lead for organ donation at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The Transplant Gallery will shine a light on the importance of organ donation and the impact a donor has on not only the recipient, but their families, friends and colleagues.

Image copyright Be A Hero
Image caption Alesha Daltry, eight, and John Dunwell, 21, have both had kidney transplants

"Each subject has a different story, but all of them have volunteered to take part in this event in order to help us spread the word about organ donation and encourage the people of Yorkshire to talk about it and sign the register."

The photographic portraits were taken by Leeds-based Simon Wiffen, and Mr Cahill, a former pub landlord, said his was probably the best picture ever taken of him.

Mr Cahill opted to have the pioneering transplant in 2012 after gout left him paralysed in his right hand.

He said "I went on the hand transplant programme, and within six weeks they'd found a donor.

"I can use my hand for different things now, I can hold things in it, it's helped my life quite a bit."

He said he now enjoys putting toys together for his grandchildren, but the main thing it has done for him has been to allow him to save his wife's life.

"If it hadn't been for my hand transplant, I wouldn't have been able to get into position to do CPR, so it's not just saved my life, it's saved hers too."

Image caption Kevin Ferdinand had a heart transplant aged 39
Image copyright Be A Hero
Image caption Les Holburt, 62, and Jackie Blanchfield, 48, also received life-saving kidney transplants

Also featured is Kevin Ferdinand, 40, from Bradford, who had a heart transplant after a strain of flu led to him suffering organ failure in 2017.

Mr Ferdinand, who has a three-year-old daughter, said he felt having a positive attitude helped him to get through his ordeal.

He said he was admitted to Bradford Royal Infirmary in January 2018, and had his transplant on 5 April that year.

He said waiting for a donor was an emotional time.

"When I found out there was a donor for me, it was that unexpected, you are nervous, you're not sure if you will wake up again.

"You are trusting people with your life, literally."

The art showcase is on display all weekend at Leeds City Museum.

Image caption Dr Claire Tordoff is the clinical lead for organ donation at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Image copyright Be A Hero
Image caption Mike Gibbons, Diane Denton and Mike Holwill were photographed for the Be A Hero project

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