Amazing journey of a senior PSNI officer who donated his kidney to nine year old boy
Graham Dodds, a senior police officer with the Police Service of Northern Ireland, has shared his story of becoming an altruistic kidney donor to nine year old Joshua Dolan.
Graham, who until recently was Chief Inspector of Fermanagh and Omagh PSNI, is currently attached to PSNI Headquarters in Belfast. He also is an officer in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets and leads the Squadron in Omagh, as well as holding the role of Media Communications Officer for the Scotland and Northern Ireland Region.
One day ahead of the transplant operation, Graham wrote a blog for Kidney Care UK, saying:
"I have two kidneys – but for the last few months I’ve been looking after one of them for a little 9 year old boy called Joshua! I first heard about Joshua Dolan when his mother Mary made an appeal for a kidney donor through our local press here in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
“He has just one kidney and with only 17% function requires three times a week dialysis sessions at the Children’s hospital in Belfast – that’s 500 miles each week to be hooked up for 12 hours to a dialysis machine – I simply had to help.
“Following tests, including our superb and unique One Day Living Kidney Donor Assessment at the Belfast City Hospital Joshua and I now have our surgery date for Tuesday 18 May.
“With Covid-19 still in mind I have been self-isolating, working from home and keeping contact to an absolute minimum for the last few weeks. It really is a matter of keeping fit and healthy for Josuha – I’m looking after his kidney for him until we have our surgery.”
“I have two kidneys – and I’m looking after one of them for Joshua.”
Graham continued: “Throughout my 23 year service in the Police I have witnessed all aspects of human nature right across Northern Ireland – the good, sadly the bad, and yes… the ugly. I believe that, often behind the difficult headlines, our society has an amazing capacity to do good, to be beacons of hope in an atmosphere often clouded by darkness.
“Northern Ireland’s living kidney donor programme, headed up by the amazing Dr. Aisling Courtney and her team, is envied across the World as it performs life-enhancing and life-saving surgery and it’s a privilege to be part of it’s continued success.
“It always amazes me that Joshua’s smile can light up any room and that is despite going through such a difficult start in life, with sickness coming on so suddenly at a time when his peers enjoy the freedoms so cruelly denied to him.
“He is a determined young boy and I want to match that determination with a sense of duty in becoming an altruistic living donor to him. Preparing to donate during Covid-19 has been tricky yet rewarding in many different ways. We have formed a strong bond over our numerous online chats and I’m delighted Joshua has such a burning interest to learn more about the police – it really does give him a buzz to know he is getting a kidney from a police officer and to see his winning smile post-surgery will be all the reward I need!”
Graham who is married to Nicola, has two teenage sons, Ethan and Alexander. He shared how his family have been totally supportive of his decision to donate a kidney and have been fully involved in all elements of the process. He said:
“The support I am receiving from my family, colleagues and the medical teams has been truly tremendous.
“I have two kidneys - I only need one and with an operation lasting roughly 4 hours - not much longer than one of Joshua’s dialysis sessions - I have it within me to release him.
“It will be with an overwhelming sense of pride and duty that I undergo surgery to give him a quality of life every nine year old deserves to have!”
Concluding Graham encouraged others to have a chat and consider organ donation to make a life-changing difference for someone else:
“We all have it within us to become a life-saver and I encourage people reading this blog to have that conversation with their family members about Organ Donation because without family consenting it can’t take place! The Living Donor Coordinators at Belfast City Hospital are just a phone call away for anyone who is considering becoming a living donor to a loved one or, like me to someone you don’t know but who you know needs your help!”
Kidney Care UK works to improve the lives of people with kidney disease throughout the country by offering support and advice to them, their families and kidney units.
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