Padiham dad receives kidney transplant from cousin

KIDNEY DONOR: Chris McGowan with his cousin Nigel Tomlinson.'Photo Ben Parsons
KIDNEY DONOR: Chris McGowan with his cousin Nigel Tomlinson.'Photo Ben Parsons
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A FATHER-OF-TWO who almost died from kidney failure has been given the gift of life by his kind-hearted cousin.

Nigel Tomlinson, of Bowness Road, Padiham, was found to have polycystic kidney failure and needed a transplant to save his life.

The 43-year-old waited three years for a dead donor while he kept himself alive with hours of painstaking dialysis treatment every day.

The hereditary condition reduced the powerful 6ft 7in. former bodybuilder to an “old man” and his partner Sharon Bleasdale, feared the worst when his kidney function dropped to just 4% and he even “died” 15 times during dialysis when his blood pressure dropped to zero and his heart stopped.

But his cousin Chris McGowan (44) (above left) stepped in to put himself up as an organ donor and gave Nigel a new kidney and a new life.

His family are now appealing to more people to put themselves forward for potentially life-saving organ donation.

Former civil engineer Nigel, whose mum and grandma both died young from kidney failure, spoke of his three-year hell with the condition.

“I was a prisoner in my own home for three years. I had been such an active man but I couldn’t even walk upstairs. I went from normal levels to just 4% kidney function and went from 17 stone to 11 stone in a month. That is almost at death’s door.”

Sharon did four months training at Chorley Dialysis Unit to be able to treat Nigel at home. She said: “He was doing five hours of dialysis every other day. He has crashed and died on me about 10 or 15 times. Without the training and support of Chorley there would be no way we got to where we are. They are amazing”.

Father-of-three Chris put himself forward as a live kidney donor along with other friends and family. He said: “I just thought that I cannot let him die at 43. I didn’t even have to think about it I just did it. It is about people giving the chance of a new life to others. I would do it all over again.” Nigel, who is out of hospital and off dialysis, said: “It has changed my life unbelievably. If he had not done the transplant I would have been dead by now. There are so many more people’s lives that could be saved from organ donations.”