A Gift of Living Donation (GOLD) event was held on 18th June 2022,
By Patricia Gooden
Living donors transform lives. That was the focus of the evening’s proceedings. The black community needs more donors. To date, only 549 black people have donated a kidney in the UK, since the law changed to allow living donation. In comparison there are thousands from other ethnic groups. The aim of the evening, at the Holiday Inn, was to inspire people to donate. We are grateful to the RFHKPA for supporting the evening and making it possible for twelve of our Royal Free patients with their partners to attend this wonderful event.
At the start of the evening, we were entertained with music from harmonica player Leon Maddy. In the dinner party room, we received a warm welcome from Dela Idowu, who organized the event.
The evening began with a video showing live kidney donors and various recipients testifying to their life changing experiences. This was a very emotional part of the evening, particularly when hearing from so many husbands and wives who had donated a kidney to their spouses. We also heard from sons and daughters who had donated to parents, as well as parents who had donated to their children. This was a ‘tear jerking’ session.
We felt very lucky to be entertained by the first ever Black Living Donor Choir. This was definitely another highlight of the evening. They sang ‘Lean on Me’. It was a very fitting song for the occasion.
After a few other items, we sat down to a magnificent buffet dinner. Such gastronomical delights! There were a few after dinner speeches and activities however, our final speech was given by Shaun Wallace, otherwise known as The Dark Destroyer on The Chase TV programme. Shaun is one of our celebrity community ambassadors and is passionate about using his platform to raise awareness of living donation in the black community.
I met several other kidney patients; some I knew and others I was introduced to. It was also good to see our own RFHKPA Committee member Louis Toussaint for the first time in three years (due to the pandemic)! The evening’s events surpassed my expectations. The highest award of the evening was presented to a lady who has donated a kidney to an unknown individual. This was an act of extreme selflessness and kindness. It was a pleasure to spend my Saturday with so many like-minded individuals.
I will definitely recommend this event to everyone next year and hope our RFHKPA will continue to support this event.