I'm so lucky to have second chance in life, says Lee after kidney ordeal
EVERY morning when Lee Claxton wakes up, he feels lucky to be alive – and that he has been given a second chance.
That is because, eight years ago, he went to the hospital for a check-up after he felt unwell, only to be told by doctors his kidneys had shut down.
And they said that, if he did not receive emergency dialysis, he would be dead within a week.
Lee was diagnosed with diabetes at four years old. Experts say it is the most common cause of kidney failure.
Two years of treatment followed – which saw Lee, now 36, at the hospital three times a week, hooked up to a machine for four hours at a time.
This, however, stopped working as effectively and he had to be put on the national transplant waiting list for a new kidney and pancreas.
About four months later, Lee said he was finally given the "gift of life" by one organ donor and her family.
He was never told much about the woman – other than that she was about his age, had died suddenly of natural causes and her parents had agreed to let the hospital use her organs. But Lee, of Mayfield Avenue, Kilburn, said: "The transplant gave me my life back.
"It has restricted what I can do and the doctors say I'll never fully recover from it – so, before, I used to be able to work more than 40 hours a week and now I can't do that.
"But I take each day as it comes and wake up every day thinking how lucky I am."
This is why Lee is backing the Derby Telegraph's Save a Life campaign to encourage our readers to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Since his transplant, he has taken a job with Derby County Football Club as a safety steward and, in 2011, he married Amanda, 33 – one of the nurses who looked after him on the renal unit at Royal Derby Hospital.
Lee said: "I wish more people were on the register because it gives people like me a second chance.
"I think it would be better if there were an opt-out system, rather than asking people if they want to join it."