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One day. Six operations. Three kidneys. The story of an organ donor chain | Society | The Guardian
From top: Ryan donated a kidney to Ben, whose dad Steve donated a kidney to David, whose wife Martha donated a kidney to Lee, who is Ryan’s best friend Photograph: David Yeo and Robert Seale for the Guardian
A year after their life-changing surgery, we bring together six people in a kidney donor circle for the first time

by Rachel Williams

Sat 10 Nov 2018 10.00 GMT Last modified on Sat 10 Nov 2018 10.03 GMT
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On the morning of 13 September 2017, Martha Myers was being prepared for surgery at north London’s Royal Free hospital. Stayin’ Alive was playing in the background. The anaesthetist had asked what she would like to hear, and she’d requested the Bee Gees – calming, “happy music” that took her back to her youth in Colombia. Meanwhile, 130 miles north, in Nottingham City hospital, Ryan Mace grappled with a pair of green surgical stockings, worrying that his gown would reveal his bottom as he walked to theatre. He’d wanted to do something like this since he was a teenager and now that the moment was here, he was ready. Back in London, south of the river at St George’s hospital, Steve Abbott had woken up feeling anxious. But his was a good ward to be on, full of high-spirited football chat that kept his mind off the day ahead. When the time for the operation finally came, he squeezed his son Ben’s hand before being wheeled away.


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Martha, Ryan and Steve were in perfect health. But over the course of the morning, surgeons at the three hospitals tussled gently with fatty tissue and chopped through blood vessels to remove a kidney from each of them. The organs were packed in ice and whisked down corridors, then handed to couriers eager to get on the road.
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