Nikki Hallur meets the Bradley Stoke man who donated a kidney to someone he has never even met.
Grzegorz Maniecki, a twenty-eight year old who lives in Bradley Stoke, and works at the Willow Brook Tesco, recently had an operation in order to donate one of his kidneys. The kidney was donated to someone Grzegorz didn’t know and the operation was performed on 6th November 2014. Following the operation, Grzegorz stayed in hospital for four days and the doctors told him he had healed very quickly. Now Grzegorz says he feels “perfectly fine”. We spoke to him to find out about what motivated him to perform such a rare act of kindness.
As we began talking, Grzegorz went to pick up a child’s hat that had been left discarded and handed it in to reception. “I believe in altruism,” he said. He later told us that one of his friends had lost his life due to the lack of a kidney donor and since then he felt he wanted to help someone have a second chance. When questioned about his decision to donate the kidney in Great Britain instead of his native Poland, he said that nationality does not matter: “I want to help another human being, and make sure the procedure is done in a responsible way.” Grzegorz was grateful to the two nurses who cared for him during his stay in hospital, although he said they found his sense of humour about the operation a bit difficult to understand. When asked about other support he had received, he said most of his family had been against the procedure, but after he made the decision they had accepted that they could not change his mind.
Despite having made such a great contribution to the health service, Grzegorz is still keen to do more. Apart from being a blood donor, he wants to be a bone marrow donor and a liver transplant donor too. When asked why he is so determined, he casually replied that “everyone deserves a second chance and we never know when our last day will be.” He said he was not too nervous about the procedure he had recently because he knew that someone was going to benefit and he had made a commitment to them. Although he does not have direct contact with the recipient of the kidney transplant, he has received some feedback that the person is doing well, which Grzegorz says he is “very happy to hear”.
“I have cut down energy drinks and caffeine,” Grzegorz mentioned when questioned about lifestyle changes since the operation. “I used to drink a lot of energy drinks but it doesn’t feel like a big sacrifice.” Grzegorz’s friends and family have told him that he was very brave, although they didn’t agree with the idea initially.
Grzegorz was one of around a hundred people in the country who donated a kidney to stranger last year. He joins a select group of fifteen people in the Bristol area who have given a kidney in this way.
Dr Chris Burns-Cox, chair of charity Give a Kidney, said:
“Many congratulations to Grzegorz on giving this amazing gift to someone in need.”
“At the moment there are about 5,700 people in the UK waiting for a kidney and around 300 people die each year in need of one.”
“Humans only need one kidney to live a healthy life and it’s heartening that more people are now coming forward to offer their ‘spare’ in this way. It really can change someone’s life.”
• Read more about non-directed (altruistic) kidney donation at www.giveakidney.org
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