A firefighter has given his daughter the gift of life – by donating his kidney.
Devoted dad Alex Hume went under the knife in August to donate to his daughter, Kayleigh, who had spent three years receiving dialysis.
Alex’s dedication has allowed Kayleigh, aged 25, to return to a full and happy life.
He revealed: “This has let Kayleigh go and do all the things that she wants to do. She is now able to go out with her friends, plan holidays - it’s fantastic.
“The difference a transplant can make to someone’s life is immense.
“Being able to enjoy an unrestricted life, or having freedom from dialysis, I don’t think you can give someone a better gift than that.”
Station manager Alex – who was supported in his recovery by The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service - made the decision to share his organ after Kayleigh’s kidneys stopped working in 2014.
He added: “My local senior office was fully supportive.
“I was encouraged to take all the time I needed because everyone knew that it was a positive thing I was doing.”
Born with Alport’s Syndrome, a progressive genetic condition affecting kidney performance, Kayleigh had lived a normal life until they began to fail.
Sadly, as a result of the failure, Kayleigh required regular dialysis care, restricting her quality of life.
Aware that his daughter may require his help at some point in her life, Alex, based at Tollcross and Liberton Fire Stations, made the decision to donate from an early stage.
Alex, who is now back to “full health”, explained: “I always knew Kayleigh had this condition.
“So I made the decision years ago, that if I could help and that if Kayleigh ever needed a kidney, I would offer her one of mine.”
He added: “The transplant itself went really well. The kidney started working straight away.
“It was made slightly more complicated because my blood group was not compatible.
“However, with advances in technology, they can now perform a process called plasmapheresis, enabling the transplant to go ahead.
“I feel great, I feel no different to before I donated the kidney – I’m back to full health.
“The kidney itself could not be working better. It’s been fantastic.”
The difference his bravery has made to Kayleigh’s life has left Alex overjoyed.
He revealed: “Kayleigh hasn’t had dialysis now in months.
“Dialysis is a really restrictive lifestyle. There are days you feel rubbish, then feel better, it’s a day by day basis. Life is constant peaks and troughs.
“If it weren’t for dialysis, we would have lost Kayleigh. But in comparison to a transplant, dialysis can be a pretty rough existence.
“The difference between dialysis and a transplant is day and night.”
Alex is grateful for the support given to him by his firefighter colleagues and the Firefighters Charity, and is now determined to do all he can to promote the importance of organ donation.
He said: “My take on it is that you can’t take your organs with you. Join the register, but make sure your loved ones know what your wishes are too.”
Kayleigh, who is now planning a trip to Amsterdam, said: “I can’t even remember being unwell now.
“I can now go out and do everything I want to without restrictions.
“A transplant can make a massive difference to someone’s life.”
Alasdair Perry is Deputy Chief Assistant Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, responsible for protecting communities across the East of Scotland
He said: “Firefighters are rare and very special individuals who not only work to prevent danger arising but have the unique ability to respond to a whole range of emergencies.
“I have known Alex for most of my career and knowing him as I do, it is no surprise this popular and highly regarded member of the service has made such a generous sacrifice.
“He is an outstanding ambassador for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and we are delighted that his daughter is now able to live her life to the full.
“The whole fire service family wishes Alex and Kayleigh all the very best.
“I would also like to reiterate Alex’s call for more people to sign up to the NHS’s organ donor register.”
To join the NHS organ donor register.