Headshot of Andy Cole wearing Make Your Mark t shirt

Former Manchester United star calls for more living kidney donors

Former Manchester United star Andy Cole has called for more people to consider living kidney donation.

The ex professional footballer endorsed the Make Your Mark initiative, launched by charities Kidney Research UK and Give a Kidney to raise awareness and help more people understand what it means to be a living donor.

A poll, undertaken by YouGov as part of the campaign, found that just 16% of adults in the North West would consider donating a kidney to a stranger – despite 81% of them believing you can change someone’s life even if you’ve never met them.

Donating a kidney while alive is possible as nearly everyone is born with two kidneys, but it’s possible to lead a healthy life with just one.

Former England international Cole, who made nearly 200 appearances for United between 1995 and 2001 and later starred for Man City, received a kidney from his nephew in 2017 after suffering from kidney failure.

The 52-year-old said: “Kidney disease is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with and I know how lucky I am that my nephew was so willing to give up his kidney for me. 

“It’s important to raise more awareness of living kidney donation so that kidney patients and potential donors can have more open conversations about it and potentially save the lives of others like me in the future.”

The poll also found that in the North West, more than half of adults (54%) would consider donating a kidney to a family member while about one in three (29%) would consider donating to a friend.

Just 16% of adults surveyed said they had recently heard about living kidney donation.

These findings come at the same time as national statistics show over 5,500 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the UK and six people die each week whilst waiting. 

David Dangoor established the Robert Dangoor Partnership for Living Kidney Donation through the two charities and has supported this campaign. He said: “This new research shows that people clearly aspire to do something good during their lives and help others. 

“Having donated a kidney to my brother, I know first-hand that it is perfectly possible to do this and to carry on living a normal life.

“I hope this partnership will have a profound impact on the number of people wanting to donate and help everyone gain a better understanding of the process involved. 

“Enabling more transplants could help patients with kidney failure to come off of, or avoid, difficult dialysis treatment.”

The campaign is part of a wider programme providing potential donors with information and support starting with the Make Your Mark website.

Image credit: Make Your Mark and the Robert Dangoor Partnership

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