A medical student donated his kidney to a teacher he hadn’t seen for five years after learning she was unwell.
Ali Golian, 30, was inspired to become a radiologist by Sonia Leonardo, 42, who taught him his trade at King’s College Hospital, South London, in 2010.
Selfless Ali said: “I wanted to help straight away. I was one of her radiography students and she was always really kind and really inspiring.
“Seeing her live her life now is amazing.”
Ali became Facebook friends with Sonia when he went to work at King’s College but she moved jobs and he didn’t see her for five years.
He later noticed in a social media update Sonia had not been well. When he asked what was wrong, she told him that her kidneys were failing and revealed she needed dialysis five times a day, while awaiting a donor.
Ali immediately offered one of his kidneys and blood tests showed he was a perfect match.
Five months later he was having an op to give her his “spare”. After the transplant at Guy’s Hospital, South London, Sonia is fighting fit. She said she was initially shocked someone she had not seen for five years was offering help.
She added: “I didn’t think he’d go through with it – but he didn’t change his mind once. I can never put into words my gratitude.”
Ali and Sonia, both from South London, back the Mirror’s campaign to save lives by changing the law on donation in England and Northern Ireland to an opt-out system like in Wales.
Sonia said: “I support the opt-out policy 100%. I’m from Portugal and it is law there, so it is one I obviously support.”
Ali said: “Sonia was on the deceased transplant list for two years. There’s currently 5,500 people on the kidney transplant list.
“If it was presumed consent that number would be way less.”
The Mirror’s Change the Law for Life campaign is pushing for an opt-out organ donor system.
Story from Mirror