A chance meeting has led not only to a life-long friendship but will give Penrith local Anthony Lobo a new lease on life when he receives a kidney from a live donor.
Penrith resident Grant McKirdy met Mr Lobo at Kingswood Bowling Club over a game of lawn bowls almost 12 years ago, with the two remaining friends ever since.
Mr Lobo is currently suffering from renal failure with both his kidneys slowly failing over the last 17 months.
After several relatives got tested to see if they were a match to donate one of their kidneys, Mr McKirdy thought he should get tested too and was told he was a match to Mr Lobo.
“I saw my mother go through the same process when I was much younger – she had kidney disease and was on dialysis for 15 years,” Mr McKirdy told the Weekender.
“I saw her deterioration during the waiting period until she got her transplant and I’ve noticed Tony’s slight deterioration over the time he has had kidney disease, so I wanted to help.”
What some may think is honourable and a courageous act of kindness, Mr McKirdy said he is just doing what needs to be done to help save a life.
“Many people have thought it’s dangerous for me or think I’m crazy to be a live donor, but it’s a simple operation and Tony needs it more than me,” Mr McKirdy said.
“I’ve done heaps of research and the statistics say a donee lives a better life with a live donor’s organ than a deceased one.”
Mr McKirdy is highlighting the benefits of being a live donor and said it’s something he will always look on fondly.
“If I can donate an organ to someone that needs it more than I do, I think it’s a great thing and I’ll be able to see the benefit with my friend right in front of me,” he said.
Mr Lobo said he will never forget the incredible gesture.
“It’s not very often you get a friend come up and say I’d like to donate my kidney to you – it absolutely blew me away and he is a great guy for doing it,” he said.
The pair are hoping the surgery will be done within the next few months.