Kidney transplant patient: ‘ I’d like to see organ donation being talked about more openly’
Jay Patel and his wife Jaysanti
A petrol station owner has been given a new lease of life thanks to a kidney transplant.
Jay Patel, 60, is a well-known face around the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales, having been the owner of Downs Filling Station, Cowbridge for over 30 years.
People who know him well will be aware of his recent health issues.
Having been diagnosed with a kidney cyst in 2004, Jay developed kidney problems that required treatment by dialysis.
Three times a week, every week, Jay would attend the University Hospital of Wales for his four-hour-long dialysis sessions. It was tough going.
In August 2011, after more than five years on the transplant waiting list, Jay received the news that a kidney, which was a good match, had been found for him. Jay said, “ It was fantastic. I’d been in poor health for many years and was so pleased that I was going to receive a new kidney.
“I feel really blessed and grateful. It’s made a huge difference to my life.”
Raised in Uganda, Jay came to Wales with his family in 1973 when he was 19 years old, as a result of the expulsion of Asians under the dictatorship of Idi Amin the previous August.
They came to Cardiff and took over the filling station business some seven years later. In 1978, and arranged by family in India, Jay married Jaysanti. She joined him in Cowbridge some two years later.
Jay is well aware of the shortage of black and minority ethnic organ donors.
Jay’s new kidney in actual fact came from a white male, whose family chose to remain anonymous.
He comments, “There’s nothing in the Hindu religion that prevents people from donating organs, or in any other religion for that matter.
“My wife was willing to give me one of her kidneys, but she wasn’t a suitable match for me.
“I think people’s unwillingness to donate is due to misguided concerns about the after-life. I can’t agree with that and think you need to focus on the life you have now.
“A lot of people in Wales and the UK are suffering, needing new organs. I’m glad the Welsh Government is bringing in a new organ donation law.
“More needs to be done, especially within the ethnic community, to raise awareness of organ donation and encourage people to support donation. I’d like to see organ donation being talked about more openly.
“Cancer was once taboo but public attitudes have been changed over recent years. I’d like to see that happen for organ donation.”
In less than two years time, new organ donation legislation will come into force in Wales on 1 December 2015.
It is hoped the changes will help create the conditions for an increase in the number of organ donors through the introduction of a soft opt-out system for consent.
Under the new system you will be able to be a donor by either registering a decision to opt in or by doing nothing at all, in which case your consent may be deemed.
By doing nothing it will be as if you have no objection to being a donor and you will be treated in the same way as if you had chosen to be a donor.
If you don’t want to be a donor you will also be able to register a decision to opt-out.
For more information you can visit www.southasianorgandonor.org.uk