Paramedic donates a kidney to partner

A new life: Alan Swain and Sarah Joseph
A new life: Alan Swain and Sarah Joseph

A devoted man who donated a kidney to save his partner’s life has spoken about his sacrifice for the first time.

Alan Swain offered girlfriend of 10 years, Sarah Joseph, the chance of a better life after years of exhaustive dialysis treatment.

They underwent the life-changing operation in December after tests revealed Alan was a match.

The surgery followed years of Sarah being wired up to machines four days a week, and the couple even had to sell their house when she was forced to leave her job.

Alan, who lives with Sarah in Whittle-le-Woods, said: “We realised Sarah needed a transplant three years ago, and I put my name down straight away.

“We researched it together, and were told we both had a 95 per cent chance of surviving the surgery, so we decided the odds were good enough and went ahead with it.

“It was an easy decision to make. Before that, Sarah was at hospital in Preston four days a week, for four hours at a time, and it can really ruin your life. You just can’t do anything, so we built ourselves up for the operation.”

The pair had to sell their house and start renting on Preston Road after Sarah gave up her job as a professional nanny, because hospital appointments were taking up too much of her time.

“It’s been three years of hell,” Alan said. “So when we found out I was a match, it was such a relief.

“It felt like a way out, and we were excited about starting a new life together.”

Sarah added: “I can’t put into words how grateful I am for what Alan has done for me. I never expected or imagined that he would be the best match, but it was great to have the support of a loved one.

“Some of my close friends put their names down too, so it was all a bit surreal, but I’m delighted things have worked out well for us.”

Sarah was diagnosed with a cyst on her kidney and underwent surgery on December 9.

Alan has since gone back to work as a paramedic on the fast-response cars in Chorley, while Sarah is looking for a job again.

He’s also preparing to run 10 miles carrying weights on his back to raise money and awareness for the Kidneys for Life charity.

Alan said: “Because I’m a paramedic and have also been through this with Sarah, I’ve seen things from both sides, so I want to help in any way that I can.

“Kidney transplants usually last around 10 to 20 years, which means Sarah might need another at some stage, but research is ongoing to find a way to make kidney transplants last for life.”

He’s taking part in the Paras 10 on Sunday, which is organised by the Parachute Regiment to raise funds for injured soldiers.

“I’ve been training for about 10 weeks now,” he said. “I’m building my strength back up after the operation. I did a triathlon before the surgery, so I’m enjoying getting back into shape.”

Sarah added: “I think it’s amazing that Alan’s doing this. I thought it would be too soon after the operation, but he proved me wrong.

“I’m extremely proud of him.”