Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner are both wonderful soulful performers. If you know anything about kidneys you may know why I mention them, for they have both had kidney failure, giving them something in common with the people we support at Kidney Care UK.
When our icons speak out about health problems, it can help to raise the profile of the condition and prompt a conversation with and in the general public. This weekend at his 2019 Hyde Park concert, Stevie Wonder told his fans that he was OK but that he needed a kidney transplant and had a living donor. These were his words:
"So what's gonna happen is this, I'm going to have surgery, I'm going to have a kidney transplant in September of this year. I'm all good, I'm all good, I'm all good. I have a donor, it's all good," Wonder said. "I want you to know I came here to give you my love and to thank you for your love. You ain't gotta hear no rumours about nothing, I told you what's up. I'm good. All right?"
About one third of the kidneys donated each year in the UK come from living donors, mainly from friends or family, but some come from altruistic donors who do not know the person they are giving to, motivated by an extraordinary generosity. 939 amazing people were living kidney donors in 2018/19. With people dying every day for the want of an organ, living donation is a vital option for some patients. It can mean that they can receive a transplant before going onto dialysis; through the pooling system (where someone has a donor who is not well-matched) another donor can be found who is a good match, making it more likely that the transplant will last a long time. There is an especially urgent need for donors in the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities because of the growing numbers of patients developing conditions, such as diabetes, leading to kidney failure. Blood and tissue types need to match, and are more likely to do so with a donor from the same ethnic background.
One third of the kidneys donated each year in the UK come from living donors
However, when news like this comes out it is, unsurprisingly, the star who is featured. We should make sure that the donors also get star ratings, for it is they who are going to help to transform the life of someone else. When Selena Gomez spoke out about her transplant it was her best friend Francia Raisa who she thanked, for Tina Turner it was her husband who gave her his kidney.
For Stevie Wonder we wish him the best of luck but we also give our appreciation to his kidney donor who is giving him the best chance to continue with his life. A kidney transplant is a treatment but it is, at the moment, the best treatment that there is. Thank you to all the wonderful kidney donors out there
To learn more about becoming a living kidney donor see the NHS organ donation website
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