By creator to www.walesonline.co.uk
Inside the house of a yr, eager hiker Jamie Bowen went from scaling the very best mountain in Africa to being unable to climb the steps in his own residence.
He found that his kidneys had been in such a horrible state that he would require a transplant or face dialysis for the remainder of his life.
However towards the percentages the 47-year-old managed to search out himself a keen organ donor – because of somebody he had met on Twitter.
“He gave me again my life, and so I’ve received a accountability now to take care of myself. I owe it to him to maintain wholesome and take care of his kidney,” Jamie mentioned.
Jamie, from Neath, was 18 years previous when he was recognized with Crohn’s illness, a persistent inflammatory bowel illness.
“The sickness affected me badly for a few years,” he mentioned.
“I used to be bloated, had common bouts of illness and suffered extreme ache within the abdomen which meant I used to be forwards and backwards to hospital virtually each different week.
“I misplaced a lot weight that at one level I weighed beneath 10 stone. As a six-foot tall lad, I knew I used to be critically in poor health.”
Shortly after he was recognized, Jamie had a bowel resection, a process to take away a part of the bowel which alleviated the ache for a number of years.
Sadly, in 2000 the signs returned and Jamie had his second bowel resection surgical procedure.
Following his surgical procedure Jamie was in nice well being and in 2016 he took on an journey of a lifetime – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.
He mentioned: “After the second surgical procedure, life returned to regular. I used to be in a position to proceed with my life and do the issues I cherished doing equivalent to mountain climbing and biking.”
Jamie mentioned he first encountered Geoff Crowther, from Hayfield in Derbyshire, in June 2016 on Twitter after the pair bonded over a shared curiosity in strolling.
After a yr of chatting on-line and planning mountain climbing journeys throughout the nation, they determined to fulfill in individual for the primary time and tackle a hike within the Peak District.
“We each loved mountain climbing and so began planning to do a visit right here in Wales, in Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons – life appeared to lastly be on the up,” mentioned Jamie.
However in 2017, Jamie’s well being took a flip for the more severe.
He mentioned: “I used to be out on my traditional Sunday afternoon bike trip and reached a slight incline.
“I pushed myself to get a little bit of traction, however my legs gave method – it was like I had misplaced use of my legs. That was the primary signal I had issues.
“After this episode I started feeling sick, I had no power and I misplaced my urge for food. I knew that one thing wasn’t fairly proper and from there it was a downwards spiral.
“I used to be referred to the medical doctors and after numerous exams I used to be instructed that my kidneys had been failing and that I would want a pre-emptive transplant, or I’d need to go on dialysis. From that time on, I knew that my life had modified dramatically.”
And not using a appropriate match, Jamie started dialysis remedy which he did three days per week for 3 to 4 hours a day at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.
He mentioned: “Inside the house of a yr, I had gone from climbing the very best mountain in Africa to not having the ability to climb the steps in my own residence. It was devastating.
“I used to be so in poor health that solely then did I actually start to understand how a lot your kidneys do for you day-to-day.”
In Could 2018, Jamie obtained a message that may change his life.
Geoff, 66, mentioned: “I may see on Twitter that Jamie’s well being was deteriorating and he was on dialysis.
“We spoke a few instances and after listening to his voice, I puzzled if I may do something to assist him.
“I wished to donate and there was nothing stopping me, so I did some analysis and went ahead with the mandatory exams.”
In spite of everything the mandatory testing, the pair had been discovered to be a match and a date was set to offer Jamie his new kidney in February 2019.
Jamie continued: “I had been on dialysis for round a yr when Geoff instructed me a couple of journey he was planning, from St Malo to Good, from the English Channel to the Mediterranean.
“I used to be so jealous that I could not go together with him. He mentioned that when he will get again from his journey, he wished to donate his kidney.
“I bear in mind sending him all of the analysis he would wish to do earlier than making his determination, and he responded saying ‘No, I believe you have misunderstood. I’ve already began the method and have performed the primary take a look at to see if we’re the identical blood kind – if we do, I will be donating you my kidney’.”
“I could not consider what he was telling me. I had solely met Geoff on Twitter a few years in the past, and solely as soon as in individual, and right here he was telling me he wished to offer me his kidney. Immediately there was gentle on the finish of the tunnel.”
On the morning of February 19, at Manchester Royal Infirmary, Geoff was taken in to take away his kidney earlier than the organ was transported down the motorway to Cardiff and transplanted into Jamie that very afternoon.
Jamie mentioned: “Having gone by two main operations with my Crohn’s illness, after surgical procedure I used to be anticipating to be out of it, however as quickly as I received again on the ward within the night I felt like I had a brand new lease of life, and from then on there’s been no issues.
“After the operation, we did not communicate for a month. I could not convey myself to choose up the telephone to name him, as a result of even the considered talking to the person who had simply selflessly saved my life would convey me to tears. I used to be utterly overwhelmed.”
Jamie added: “After the transplant, when Geoff opened the door to me, we each utterly broke down crying. It was actually emotional. There was no stopping the tears.”
Geoff mentioned: “Donating my kidney to Jamie was in all probability one of the crucial vital issues I’ve performed in my whole life and I really feel so completely satisfied that I used to be in a position to assist him get again to residing his life.”
Yearly greater than 250 sufferers die ready for a kidney transplant on account of a scarcity of organs.
If you wish to donate your organs, you’ll be able to register your determination by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting https://gov.wales/living-donation . It is also vital to have the organ donation chat along with your family members.
Wherever you reside, you’ll be able to register to turn into a residing donor. For extra info, communicate to the reside transplant coordinator at your closest transplant unit.
Jamie and Geoff now have plans to participate in a motorbike trip problem collectively to lift consciousness of organ donation.
“If extra folks can do what Geoff has performed, much more lives may be saved,” Jamie added.
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