Inspirational Drew Murray who donated kidney to stranger thrilled to give gift of life
An inspirational man has spoken of how he was left feeling "over the moon" after being able to donate a kidney to a stranger and transform their life.
Drew Murray from Antrim made the selfless decision to give one of his kidneys for organ donation after being inspired by a television programme highlighting the struggles a little girl with kidney failure faced.
The kind-hearted 56-year-old is now recovering after becoming a 'live donor' and helping a woman who faced countless hours on dialysis.
Drew, a father-of-one, now wants to promote awareness of becoming an organ donor in Northern Ireland.
"I saw the TV programme with Eamonn Holmes about a girl on dialysis and the upheaval she went through and it really just touched my heartstrings," he said.
"The way I looked at it was I need to do something and I just couldn't get it out of my head. I thought, I've got two, the thought of someone that has got none, it just went from there."
After 18 months he had the life-changing operation on November 11. However, it was not an easy journey as he discovered he had his own health problems.
Doctors found that his blood pressure was high, and at nearly 17 stone he was overweight and borderline diabetic.
"That was a shock on its own. But my heart sank because I thought I wouldn't be able to donate my kidney."
But he refused to let that stop him from being a live donor and got support from Terrell McKeown, a trainer and nutritionist.
"He helped me with my diet and exercise - that support was really important," he added.
"I set my own personal target of getting down to 12 and a half stone. And the weight dropped off me and within four months I was at my target. It was hard but I stuck to it," he told The Nolan Radio Show.
Drew said the hospital welcomed him with "open arms" when he approached it and described the transplant team as fantastic.
"It took about four hours, but I woke up and was told that I would be helping to save a wife and mum."
He said he did wonder where his organ had been donated but that the information he had about the recipient was limited and he was delighted after being told the operation was a success.
"Whenever I heard they operated on the recipient and it was functioning and they were up and about I was over the moon.
"I didn't realise the impact of what I had done but the doctor put it in perspective for me.
"I know she is female, over in England and 54 years old and the doctor says 'you don't realise what you've done. You've given a husband back his wife. A family back its mother'."
Drew, who works for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, is now looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife Patricia and 14-year-old son Andrew. "It should be a nice time to spend with them after this year. I'm happy I've been able to help someone and what a great gift to be able to give someone, the gift of life," he said.
The Northern Ireland Kidney Patients' Association (NIKPA), who supported Drew throughout his journey, recently presented him with a gold pin for his actions.
"What it signifies is so important to me and the work they do is just amazing - they are all wonderful people involved in that association," he said.
William Johnston, who himself had to wait 17 years for a kidney transplant, and is a member of the NIKPA said: "Drew is an amazing person but very modest, as are all live kidney donors. Drew and all live kidney donors and donor families really do give the gift of life - a gift of love."
To sign the donor register in Northern Ireland visit www.organdonationni.info/