A twin who gave up the chance of a kidney transplant so that his more seriously ill brother could have the surgery is now in desperate need of the life-changing operation.
Taxi driver Andy Twigg, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease, undergoes dialysis to clean his blood at St Albans Hospital three times a week.
He said: “I get there for about 6pm and I probably go home between 10pm and 10.30pm. Without the machine I wouldn’t be here today.”
The disease was discovered almost by accident in the Hemel Hempstead brothers after Lawrence, of Adeyfield, injured himself and was sent for a scan by doctors around 10 years ago.
It set alarm bells ringing and tests on Andy, of Apsley Lock, also revealed he was a sufferer – his two sons, aged 17 and 19, have the condition, too, and they may also need kidney transplants in the future.
Andy said: “It tires you out. It drains you.
“I still do things but I’m not as healthy as I was five years ago.”
Lawrence had a transplant in March 2011 – he was already undergoing regular dialysis while, at that time, Andy did not require the invasive medical treatment.
He said: “I got the phone call for the kidney transplant and I went down there but they didn’t realise there were two of us. I was gutted but it was just one of those things.
“He was dialysing at the time and I wasn’t, so it was better for him to get it.
“I had the choice to have it or to give it to my brother.
“He was quite lucky because the kidney he received was from a 30-year-old man. It really did him the world of good.”
Andy, 41, who works in and around Hemel Hempstead town centre as a taxi driver, has now been waiting for a second chance of a transplant for more than two years.
His failing kidneys mean that he can’t eat certain foods, has to monitor his fluid intake and take special tablets after eating meals.
A much-needed transplant would undoubtedly change his life. “Today would be so different. I wouldn’t have to spend 15 to 16 hours a week dialysing,” said Andy. “I could change my job and things like that.”
He is one of 27 people in the Dacorum area currently waiting for an organ transplant and so far this year just six people locally have undergone the life-changing surgery.
Latest figures show that in Dacorum there are 50,015 people on the UK Organ Donor Register but more are always needed.
Andy said: “When people die if they can help other people out then that is a good idea.
“At the end of the day you don’t need what you have got because you are dead.”
Find out more about signing up to the Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call the organ donor line on 0300 123 23 23