Kidney donation benefits ‘priceless’

Photo: Luisa Girao
Photo: Luisa Girao
In the early 2000s, during a trip to Thailand, Nobby Clark met a Buddhist monk who said something that changed him forever.

"He said to me: ‘do something in your life that can enhance the life of other people’.

"If one person can seriously impact in a positive way in the life of another, the world would change."

Since then, Mr Clark, who is also an Invercargill city councillor, has been looking for opportunities to do just that.

He had done some voluntary work and donated money to charities — but 15 years ago he took a step further and decided to become the fourth non-directed kidney donor in New Zealand.

" I read a story about a guy that donated the kidney and six weeks later he was playing golf, so I thought this could be something I could do.

"A friend of my partner was passing through a dialysis [treatment] so I knew how hard the process it is. I though I should be on the list to donate. My kidney was not a match for my partner’s friend but I decided to donate anyway for someone who needed it."

Nobby Clark is urging people to have kidney function tests done as part of annual check-ups....
Nobby Clark is urging people to have kidney function tests done as part of annual check-ups. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

He said hundreds of people died in New Zealand every year needing a kidney transplant.

"By far the big donors are people who died in accidents or people who have a relationship with the patient in need, some friend or family member. Very few come from the anonymous system."

Mr Clark donated his kidney in 2005 and, months later, he received a letter from the person who received it.

"She thanked me and said I gave her life back."

Unfortunately, the woman died last year for other reasons, but Mr Clark "did not regret for a minute" his decision.

"I could help her to have 15 years of her life with her children. This is priceless.

"I have her letter on my wall to remind myself that we can change people’s lives every day."

At the beginning of this year, Mr Clark’s wife Karen was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Her condition was stable, but the diagnosis made the couple want to raise awareness about the matter.

On March 7, Mr Clark will be one of the speakers at the Kidney Health Forum at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club.

"There’s no obvious signs if you have a kidney that is not working properly. People need to get their kidney functions exams done. It’s part of the blood test but can show how your kidney is working."

"The benefit is huge and need is ongoing."

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

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