Ailing Scot finds new kidney on Facebook
A SCOTTISH father has been offered the chance of a life-saving kidney from a long-lost cousin in the United States after writing about his plight on Facebook.
Andy Williamson, 44, suffers from polycystic kidney disease and has been undergoing daily dialysis for the last year while he waits for a suitable organ donor.
Earlier this year he started documenting his illness on the social networking site and was left “stunned” when he received a message from a cousin, John Williamson, who lives in Michigan, offering to be a live donor for him.
The cousins, who have only ever met twice, are waiting for the results of a tests to find out if the John is a suitable donor.
Musician Andy, who was born in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, said: “We don’t actually know each other that well, having grown up on different sides of the Atlantic, but we became friends on Facebook a couple of years ago.
“John saw that I was in need of a new kidney and offered to be a living donor. It’s one of those things where it’s difficult to find the words. It came totally out of the blue.”
Andy, who now lives in Devon, inherited his illness from his mother, who also suffered from it. He was diagnosed at 21 and had been on daily dialysis for 18 months before a kidney donor came forward in August 2007. However, that kidney failed last year and he is now back on dialysis waiting for another donor.
The Scot said his cousin found out about his illness only after he started using a new app on his iPhone, which allows users to check in to visited places.
He used it while in hospital, which alerted his Facebook friends, including John, that he was on dialysis again.
Just days later, Mr Williamson received an unexpected message from his cousin, offering him one of his kidneys.
Last month John Williamson, an advertising accounts manager, flew to the UK and underwent a range of tests at Southmead Hospital in Bristol to determine if his kidney is a suitable match. The cousins are due to find out the results this month.
He said: “Seeing Andy’s situation online, and seeing pictures of him, I felt moved, and there was a little voice in my head that said, ‘you should do this’.”
John’s father, Andy’s Uncle John, was one of four brothers who grew up in Glasgow. In the early 1960s, John snr and his wife, Marie, moved to Canada, where John jnr was one of their four children
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