A KIDNEY donor is encouraging the Asian community to donate an organ to help save lives after undergoing the surgery himself.
Sanjiv Gohil, 52, of The Ridgeway, North Harrow, donated his kidney after seeing a doctor on television talking about his experience of donating a kidney.
The architect told the Observer: “I was watching breakfast television and saw this doctor talking about his experience of donating a kidney. I didn’t even know at that point people could do that.
“It didn’t take much thought for me, I was going to go ahead and do it.
“To have the opportunity to save someone’s life is amazing – why shouldn’t people do it.”
Mr Gohil is divorced and lives with his 20-year-old daughter in Harrow and his 13-year-old son lives with his former wife.
He told the Observer the hardest part of the process was discussing his decision with his family and making sure they were okay with it.
“My two children were understanding, they are old enough to get it and realise the importance, obviously it is worrying for family members,” Mr Gohil said. “Anyone who is thinking of going ahead and doing it should make sure that they consult with their families.”
Mr Gohil had his operation at the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, in September 2011. After having the surgery on a Thursday, he said he was out on Hampstead Heath the following Saturday enjoying a picnic with his children.
He said: “It was amazing how quick the process was and how fine I felt. Obviously there was a bit of discomfort,
“I am no superhuman, but knowing that I have saved someone’s life and made them better it felt just great. I just hope that they are enjoying their life and are benefitting from the kidney.”
Mr Gohil said he didn’t know who the recipient was as that is kept confidential, but the patient would have been given his details in case they wanted to contact him.
He added: “I have never felt better, I am completely fine and I would honestly encourage others to do it.
“It may seem like an extreme operation but knowing that you have made an impact on somebody’s life is just life changing.
“I really hope that people hear my story and get inspiration for it. Anyone can do it and I want people, especially in Harrow, to know that the Asian community should get involved and do it too.”
Mr Gohil is a committee member for organ donation charity Give A Kidney. He helps the charity to encourage people to donate and learn more about the process.
Trustee of the charity, Paul van den Bosch, said: “We are quite a small charity who try to encourage people to donate their kidneys. We have all been through the process ourselves and understand how simple it is.
“We explain exactly what happens and offer as much guidance as we can to those thinking of donating. Sanjiv is now part of our charity and is helping us get the word out about donating.”
n To learn more about donating a kidney visit: www.giveakidney.org.