A man was so affected by a letter he received in an eBay parcel that he donated a kidney years later to a complete stranger.
A man has donated a kidney to a stranger after receiving an eBay parcel containing a moving note
The idea of a kidney donation came to Ray Duffy, 53, in 2013, when his partner bought a top on eBay, which was accompanied by a note explaining the seller’s family circumstances. The woman who posted the package had wrapped it in paper, illustrated with hand-drawn cartoons.
Ray said: “Back in 2013, my partner bought a top on eBay and it arrived wrapped up in brown wrapping paper which the sender had hand-drawn cartoons of animals all over.
“She had also written a thank-you note explaining that her husband was on the transplant waiting list, had lost his job and that now and then they would sell things they didn’t need on eBay so they could buy their kids a treat.
“She said that she drew the pictures to put a smile on people’s faces as they had helped her put a smile on her children’s faces.
“I’ll never forget it.
“It was just a really nice gesture from a complete stranger and I couldn’t help feeling a bit queasy – here we are in the 21st century and there are families struggling while waiting for transplants.
“I felt so helpless.”
“It was a very humbling experience to be able to do something like that for someone else.“
Ray, a father of two, kept the note as he was very moved by it. However, he had no idea how he could help. He recalled at the time he thought “If I could, I would give her husband my kidney” – but he did not know it was possible or legal.
Two years later, Ray listened to a radio programme which discussed living kidney donors. He was inspired to undergo surgery at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, in March 2017, to become a living kidney donor. Ray said: “I went to change the music on the radio and I pressed the wrong button and accidentally tuned into an interview of a man speaking about his experience donating a kidney.
“That was the lightbulb moment, I just knew I was going to do it. I registered in November and started the assessment process straight away.”
After the year-long process of mental, physical and medical assessments to ensure he was in a fit state to undergo the operation, Ray’s procedure took place at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. He said: “It was a very humbling experience to be able to do something like that for someone else.
“I know it’s not for everyone and it’s a huge decision but for me it just felt right.”
Today, Monday 16 September, Ray will climb the Old Man of Hoy sea stack in Orkney, to raise awareness.
Give a Kidney chairman Chris Jones said: “Mr Duffy’s climbing challenge is brilliant because it shows that donors come back to 100% health after donating.
“In Scotland, there are over 400 people who need a transplant. With efforts like Mr Duffy’s, we hope to get more people donating kidneys.”
Become a living organ donor (US)
Most organ and tissue donations occur after the donor has died. But some organs and tissues can be donated while the donor is alive. Nearly 6,000 living donations take place each year. That's about 4 out of every 10 donations.<br /> Most living donations happen among family members or between close friends. Some people become altruistic living donors by choosing to donate to someone they don’t know.