Sister flies from Canada to donate kidney to Norwich man
A Norwich man has avoided a lifetime of dialysis after his sister flew thousands of miles to donate a kidney to her brother.
John Cutting, 46, of Eade Road, off Aylsham Road, was first diagnosed with kidney disease nearly four years ago.
The news came a shock to the father-of-one who was fit and active and he had to change his diet, cutting out fresh fruit and vegetables and caffeine, and take a cocktail of medication.
He was able to continue to work full time as a steel work supervisor at DGT Structures in Lenwade but his health started to deteriorate this year when his kidney function dropped from 16pc, when he was first diagnosed, to just 11pc.
It was then that medics said he needed to undergo a kidney transplant urgently.
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Mr Cutting's sister Linda Rackham, who lives in Canada, had already been identified as a suitable donor and she flew over at the end of last month especially to have the transplant operation.
The operation was successful and the pair are now urging other families to talk about organ donation.
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Ms Rackham, 57, who moved to Canada 30 years ago, said: 'When I first found out about John's kidney problems, I said 'I have two, have one of mine', there was never any doubt in my mind.
'We knew the transplant was going to happen at some stage. They said October but then they said we couldn't wait until October and that it would have to be September.
'The distance was not even an issue, it never ever entered the whole picture. I'm absolutely pleased I went through with it. I would never have even started the process if I wasn't positive about the outcome. I trusted the doctors to do their job and I knew if they did that then the outcome could only be good.'
The pair both went in for surgery on September 20 at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and are now recovering well.
The transplant means that both Mr Cutting and his sister now have 40pc kidney function and that Mr Cutting will not need to have dialysis - a gruelling treatment in hospital four times a week.
It also means Mr Cutting, who is married to Cathy, 44, who works at Norwich's Debenhams, and has a 19-year-old daughter Charlotte, no longer has to follow his strict low potassium diet and that he was able to drink his first cup of coffee in nearly four years.
He said: 'I'm so grateful to Linda and it's definitely brought us closer. I was really anxious going into the operation. I was so worried that something was going to go wrong and that it would have all been for nothing.
'I feel a lot healthier now and have got more energy. I am very lucky.'
Mr Cutting, who went to Earlham High School, will still have to go to Addenbrooke's for regular check ups over the next months and his sister will have a check up before she heads back home to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, with their mum Gwen Shepherd.
Meanwhile, the pair both plan to raise funds for relevant charities.
Restaurant worker Ms Rackham, who has three children and six grandchildren and is a foster parent, said: 'It has certainly made me look at organ donation in a different light than what I did even three months ago.
'If I can give anybody a bit of advice it would be to have that conversation with their family about their wishes. If everyone could make their wishes known we could save so many lives.'
To register as an organ donor, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
Have you done something amazing for a family member? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.