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Christians could end the waiting list for a kidney, says campaigner

by Cara Bentley

Christians are being urged to think about how they have been recipients of a 'heart transplant' through God's generosity and donate their kidney in response. 

A Christian campaigner who donated his kidney is January is encouraging Christians to do the same, saying the church could end the waiting list for a kidney.  

According to the NHS, in the UK around 5,000 people need a kidney transplant and hundreds die each year waiting for a transplant due to a shortage of organ donors.

The average waiting time for a kidney transplant from someone who has died is more than two and a half years. For some ethnic groups the wait is even longer.

Joe Walsh has now founded the campaign group Faith in Operation and told Premier: "Many of us have a spare kidney. We can live very healthy lives with just one and the operation is very low risk. For me, giving a kidney was such an uplifting experience. I'm passionate to think that actually the church could do something really great for the common good."

He explained how he reacted when he first heard it was an option: "Straightaway, it struck me that if God's blessed me with two kidneys, and someone could benefit from the other, it made good sense to give one away. I liked the idea that was effective way of doing good as well. One person giving a kidney to a stranger can enable a chain of transplants - so that means two or three people get a kidney, which is potentially life saving, and also it saves the NHS up to £200,000 per operation."

Joe donated his kidney in January and now wants those who can to do the same. Aside from the medical arguments, Joe Walsh added that it was the Bible which persuaded him to seek support from believers. 

"Christians actually identify as organ transplant recipients because in Ezekiel there's a verse about receiving new hearts and a new spirit and we identify as having received that radical love of God. We're called to imitate that generosity in our day to day life as well. 

"I'm hopeful and I believe that the church, sharing God's heart and imitating that generosity, has an explosive potential to do good."

Joe Walsh, post-treament with daughter 

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