A university manager who donated a kidney to her brother has called for more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) donors after taking part in the British Transplant Games.
Suzanne McDonald, manager of the business and law school at the University of East London (UEL), which has campuses in Stratford and Docklands, triumphed at the recent Games with brother Derrick.
Suzanne said: “It was an amazing weekend with my brother winning in swimming. I got a medal for taking part in the 3k donor run, and I also came third in my heat of the donor 100 metres race.”
Suzanne, of Collier Row, donated a kidney to Derrick, who lives in Gidea Park, 10 years ago. Two years ago Derrick received another kidney from a donor.
They ran for the Barts Health NHS Trust and the Royal London Hospital – where Derrick had both transplants – sponsored by the Global Kidney Foundation.
Derrick won gold in the men’s butterfly and silver in the men’s front crawl.
Suzanne, who is of Caribbean descent, said: “There are not enough BAME donors around so many BAME patients with kidney failure spend years on dialysis.
“We really need to start breaking down the taboos around organ donation in the BAME community.”
The London Assembly stated that in 2018 black and Asian patients waited six months longer than white patients for kidney transplants.
Asian patients waited almost three years for a lung transplant, while white patients waited about nine months.
Demand for organ transplants is high among BAME communities since members are more likely to have diseases that lead to organ failure, including type 2 diabetes.
On the decision to help her brother, Suzanne said: “I didn’t have to think twice.
“I had something that could give him his life back while not making a difference to mine.
“The day of the surgery was a bit nerve-wracking, but I was excited to help him back to good health. It has not made a difference to my health in any way.”
The first British Transplant Games was in Portsmouth in 1978.
At the 2019 Games, which took place from July 25 to 28, more than 950 transplant recipients took part in 25 events.
Image Copyright: UEL
Written by: Jon King