|Man thanks NHSGGC team for kidney transplant … by jumping out of a plane
A man whose life was transformed by a transplant after years “counting down to kidney failure” has thanked everyone involved in his care … by jumping out of an aeroplane.
Scott Cather took the plunge in a charity skydive earlier this summer, and this week – during Organ and Tissue Donation Week – he presented a cheque for £1657.09 to the Transplant Service at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
“It really was a no-brainer,” said the 56-year-old. “The whole team did so much for me and I wanted to do something to properly thank them – everyone who had done so much to care for me and give me this new lease of life.
“I’d always wanted to do a sky-dive, so after the operation I said to my wife: ‘That’s what I’m going to do’.”
Scott did his jump at Skydive St Andrews, Glenrothes, at the end of July – barely seven months after his life-saving surgery – and it was everything he had imagined.
“I went with my two stepdaughters and one of my stepdaughters’ boyfriends,” he said. “We got there good and early so we were first in the queue. The weather was good on the day so when we took the plunge conditions were great.
“It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and the fact I was raising money for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde made it even more special.”
Scott, from the village of Auchinloch in North Lanarkshire, had been on dialysis for many months before his operation and, though he tried to stay positive, the process was taking its toll on him and his family.
“Quite simply, it felt like I was counting down to kidney failure,” he said. “I’d spent seven months on dialysis at Stobhill in Glasgow, and then my wife Diane was trained in how to administer the procedure, so we did that at home for another eight months.
“We tried to stay positive but, strangely, the week before my transplant, it was like I’d had enough and I said to my wife: ‘I really need a new kidney now’.
“It was like someone heard me.”
The call about Scott’s new kidney came at 8am on December 3rd 2022.
“It came totally out of the blue,” he said. “They said we’ve got a kidney, and it’s a really good match.
“We were supposed to be looking after our grandson Harry that day so, as well as being really emotional and excited, we needed to make arrangements at short notice.
“I was in the QEUH by 11am, had the tests I needed and had the surgery that day.
“The surgery itself was successful and, once my recovery was properly under way, that was when I decided I wanted to do something to properly thank the whole team at the QEUH.”
Diane, who married Scott in June 2022, had always known him living with kidney disease, so for her the change after the operation was huge.
“Before the transplant he was tired all the time, sleeping 15 hours a day,” she said. “So to go from that to jumping out of a plane was wonderful to witness.
“I can’t put into words how much the operation means to us. It’s given Scott his life back – and it’s given our whole family a new life. I’ve got a new Scott, and I’ll never take that for granted.
“Thank you to everyone who have been involved in his care.”
When Susan Easson, Senior Charge Nurse at the Transplant Unit, was told of Scott’s charity jump so soon after his operation, at first she didn’t believe it.
“I thought ‘It can’t be him – not that soon’. In fact, we had to check it was definitely him – not his brother or someone like that!
“I can’t thank Scott enough. I’m just so humbled by this wonderful gesture, and I’m so happy for him and his family.
“Dialysis is a huge thing for everyone who knows a patient. It’s like a full-time job, and it dominates every aspect of their lives.
“A transplant is incredible for these people. By registering with the donor programme or by signing up to be a living kidney donor, you’re doing something really special.
“This Organ and Tissue Donation Week I’d encourage everyone to have that talk with their family – to let them know you’re opting in. By that one simple gesture, you’re potentially giving someone in need the greatest gift of all – the gift of life.”
Scott is back at work now, and looking forward to embracing new challenges in his life.
“I can look forward with confidence now,” he said, “and that’s all down to the fantastic work by the team at the QEUH. I literally owe my life to them, and I’ll never forget that.”
Throughout this week, people are being reminded of the choices they have under Scotland’s system of organ and tissue donation in a bid to increase registrations and encourage them not to leave their loved ones in doubt.
They can choose to be a donor, or to opt out. If people aged 16 and over choose to do nothing, it is assumed they agree to be a donor if they die in circumstances where donation is possible, unless they are in a group for whom the opt-out system does not apply, or it would be against their views. They can also choose to register their willingness to be a living kidney donor.
People across Scotland are being encouraged to think about organ and tissue donation this week and to record their decision on the NHS Organ and Tissue Donor Register. They are also being encouraged to discuss that decision with their loved ones, so they are aware of their wishes.
To find out more about organ donation, and to register your donation decision, go to www.organdonation.scot or call 0300 123 2323.
For more information on living donations, go to Living donation | Organ Donation Scotland