Octogenarian becomes Britain's oldest kidney donor

Wed May 16, 2012 7:01pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - An 83-year-old British man who has donated blood 57 times has shown further altruistic concern by giving up a kidney to a stranger, making him the oldest Briton to do so, according to a kidney donation charity.

Nicholas Crace, a former charity director from the leafy English county of Hampshire, decided to donate a kidney to Britain's National Health Service following the death of his wife in 2011, when he found he had more time for voluntary work.

"I've had an easy, comfortable life...I thought it was about time I paid back some of my good fortune. I was fit, I had no dependents and plenty of time," Crace told Reuters in a phone interview.

Crace decided to donate a kidney because he was too old to give blood or bone marrow and was surprised to discover that not only was he the oldest living Briton to donate a kidney but also that he had the kidneys of a 40-year-old.

"I think I probably chose my parents carefully," he joked.

Almost 7,000 British people are waiting for a kidney and around 300 die each year waiting for one, according to Britain's Give A Kidney charity.

Altruistic kidney transplants have taken place in Britain since 2007, and Crace is one of nearly 100 people to have donated a kidney to a stranger since then.

(Reporting by Clare Kane, editing by Paul Casciato)