Canberra real estate agent Cory McPherson has parted with something priceless to save the life of his co-worker Jenny McReynolds. The father-of-two donated a kidney to Mrs McReynolds who was suffering from polycystic kidney disease an inherited condition that can cause renal failure and death.

A mother-of-three, Mrs McReynolds, said “thank you” was thoroughly inadequate to express her gratitude. The real estate agents were professional competitors before they became colleagues at Richard Luton Properties.

Mr McPherson, 35, made the extraordinary offer to Mrs McReynolds at their work Christmas party in 2006. “Richard Luton made an announcement saying ‘anyone who doesn’t know, Jenny’s very sick. “She’s got kidney disease and if anyone’s o-positive and has a kidney, please see Jenny’,” Mr McPherson said.

“I went up to Jenny almost immediately and I said ‘look you might not believe me now but I tell you I’m your man’.” Mrs McReynolds, 44, was “floored”.

“I couldn’t believe it. What an amazing thing for him to do. What a gift. It’s lifesaving for me,” she said. She was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in her early 20s and her health had started to deteriorate in recent times. She was hooked up to a dialysis machine for four-hour stints, three times a week.

Mr McPherson had a battery of tests to ensure he was physically suitable and psychological fit to donate his kidney. The results revealed that the co-workers were “almost a perfect match”, which was extremely rare when the donor and recipient were not blood relatives.

The transplant was successfully performed at RPA the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney on December 4. Mrs McReynolds spent 712 hours in the operating theatre and seven days in hospital before she was sent home. It took 512 hours to remove the kidney from Mr McPherson who was discharged from hospital after four days.

Mrs McReynolds said people suffered immense hardships and pressures as they waited for a transplant. “A lot of people who do get sick lose their homes [and] they lose jobs,” she said.
Mr McPherson said the organ donation rates “aren’t impressive” in Australia.”So many of us are busy in our own lives. We don’t kind of look around much to see the people who are not doing so well and often there’s things we can do to help,” he said.

Australians who want to become organ donors should discuss their wishes with family and register by telephoning 1800777203 or visiting www.medicareaustralia.gov.au

Simon Turner simon@marquetteturner.com.au

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