An Abingdon man who had suffered from kidney failure for five years received “the gift of positivity” last month after his father made the 3,500 mile trip from his home in Canada to donate one of his kidneys.
Robert Pont, 27, who works at Tesco Extra in Abingdon, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease in 2012, which left him facing the prospect of dialysis if an organ donor could not be found.
Having managed the condition in the intervening five years, Robert’s conditioned worsened last year and a transplant became the only option.
His father, Simon Pont, 59, who moved to London Ontario, Canada, in 2007, immediately stepped up to offer his son a health kidney and flew to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford for tests.
The results revealed that only an identical twin could have been a better match for Robert.
Robert had been able to manage his condition with the help of the Oxford Kidney Unit through medication and diet, cutting out chocolate, beer and certain fruits and nuts, until the transplant operation was unavoidable any longer.
Robert said: “My kidney function dropped below 10 per cent and that triggered alarm bells with the hospital.
“I’m still a bit tender but feeling miles better than I was two weeks ago and people who know me said they could notice a difference straight away.”
Creatinine levels in Robert’s blood were dangerously high before the three hour operation on December 28.
Prior to the transplant, Robert would feel drained of energy by mid-day, affecting his work and home life.
Having one kidney has become something of a family tradition for the Ponts, Robert’s grandfather had one removed around 15 years ago, but dad Simon said it was “not a trend I’m keen to continue”.
Simon added: “Since Robert was diagnosed, I’ve met a number of people who have had one kidney all their life and then you suddenly realise that being a live donor, yes there are some risks attached, but the benefit is you’re making a huge difference.
“You’re giving somebody else their life back.”
Robert said: “A live donor can be quite a substantial life changing event for someone.
“Even if people can’t donate an organ, giving blood can be a step in the right direction to helping someone and give them that gift of positivity.”
As the organ came from a live donor, Robert can expect the new kidney to last more than 20 years, whereas organs from deceased people usually last between 10 and 15 years.
– Owen Hughes