“Kay did an amazing thing – we are all so proud of her”

A former cabbie whose life was transformed by a kidney transplant has spoken of his “immense pride” in his late wife who gave the gift of life to three people by donating her organs following her death.

Kay Bird passed away at Colchester Hospital, which is run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, in May 2021 after suffering a sudden bleed on the brain.

Her devoted family said the 73-year-old had always been known for her generosity and kindness, so were unsurprised to find out that she had signed up to the organ donor register so that she could help others after her death.

Kay’s liver and kidneys were used to save the lives of three men in their 50s. Her family now take comfort from knowing that her altruism helped to give the recipients a second chance at life and more precious time with their own loved ones.

“Kay did an amazing thing that money cannot buy,” said Patrick, who lives in Chelmsford and is sharing his story in the run up to Organ Donation Week, which runs from Monday 26 September to Sunday 2 October.

“She gave those three men their lives back and hopefully lots more years with their own families. I know exactly how they feel from my own experiences of receiving a transplant – it’s like having a second birthday and I thank the lady who donated my kidney from the bottom of my heart every single day.”

Patrick spent three years on dialysis before having a successful transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in 2004. Although the couple had never discussed Kay’s decision to sign up to the organ donor register, he feels it was her way of saying thank you for the kidney which he received.

“I know how much it means to families, which is why I am so passionate about Kay’s decision,” added Patrick, who married his childhood sweetheart in 1973 and went onto have three children – Joanne, Joseph and Michael – and six grandchildren.

“Her death was absolutely devastating to us all and came so suddenly – she went out for lunch one day and never came home again. But out of that tragedy, someone else has been given a second chance at life which is amazing.

“I didn’t know that Kay was on the register but I wasn’t surprised as she was that sort of person. She knew from what happened to me the difference it makes and what it can do for a family.

“I know it can be very difficult for people but would encourage others to donate if they can. Kay made huge difference to lots of people when she was alive, and is continuing to so now she is no longer with us. We are all immensely proud of her and always will be.”

To find out more about organ donation and how you could save up to nine lives, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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