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John gave away his kidney at age of 82
"If I can help anybody out, I will. This was a way of being helpful"

Evening Herald - 13/07/2012

AT 83 YEARS old John Wenham is one of the oldest living people to give a kidney to a stranger. The Saltash pensioner said he wanted to be `helpful' — and would do it again if he could.
One year on from surgery he told his incredible story to raise awareness of altruistic donation during national Transplant Week.
John is one of around 100 altruistic donors in the country when he underwent the operation last year, aged 82, he was the oldest person in the UK to have had the procedure. The title went to 83-year-old Nicholas Crace, from Hampshire, in May.
John said: "If I can help anybody out, I will. This was a way of being helpful.
"People kept asking me whether I was sure I wanted to go through with it, but I didn't once feel like backing out.
"While going through tests to check I was healthy enough for the operation, I saw a patient on a dialysis machine and he looked so unwell. I thought that I had to go through with it whateverhappens. I used to work with someone who had only one kidney and he was perfectly healthy.
"I thought: 'I'm retired, I'm doing nothing, I'm sure I could live' on one kidney'. And now I am. "If I had another one spare, I'd do it again."
John, who is unmarried and has no children, is a former Merchant Navy purser and civil servant who worked on Government training schemes. His two main hobbies are "music and reading —jazz and classics". He surprised his GP when he asked about becoming a donor.
He said: "I'd got the idea when I saw a woman on television in 2010 who had given up a kidney to a relation. She was well in to her 60s. "I thought 'I'm in pretty good nick, I could do that'. "I suppose it's a guilty conscience in one way. I spend far too much money on CDs when it should go to charity."
John's GP referred him to the South West Transplant Centre at Derriford Hospital. Tests revealed his kidneys functioned as well as those of someone decades younger, and he was fit and healthy enough for the surgery. The octogenarian keeps fit and well with daily half-hour walks around his neighbourhood.
"They explained the risks to me, the ultimate is that you could die on the operating table," he said. "But I knew everything was going to be all right and I would bounce back — and I have."
John has been told the operation was a success. He said: "I don't know whether it was a man or a woman who received it but they said the person was now healthy and not on a dialysis machine anymore. I thought 'thank God for that, I've done my duty'.
"I wouldn't say it was a holiday, but it was a change from the norm and it hasn't done me any harm."