HE NEVER complained about his life, despite undergoing more than 100 operations – including three kidney transplants.
And Andy Watson’s happiness was complete earlier this year when he got engaged on Valentine’s Day to Liz Ward.
But now, just five months before he was due to get married, the 30-year-old from York has died in hospital after losing a battle against an abdominal infection.
Today his fiancée revealed that, having already bought Andy a wedding ring, she had now placed it on his finger. “In our hearts, we were already married,” said Liz, who had been living with Andy in their own flat in Haxby. “We were very much in love.”
Andy’s parents Sheila and Peter, of Wigginton, said Andy had told them the last 18 months, since he had met Liz, had been the happiest time of his life.
They paid tribute to Andy, 30, with Sheila saying: “He had more than 100 operations in his life, including grafts and hernia surgery as well as the transplants, but he never complained.
“He was always positive and smiling. He just wanted to be normal and have a normal life like anyone else.”
The couple also thanked the three kidney donors and their families who gave their son extra years of precious life.
They urged people across York who do not already carry an organ donor card to consider getting one now, and revealed that application forms would be made available at Andy’s funeral.
The couple said they would also have a plate collection for the British Kidney Patient Association, which paid for Andy to go on a holiday to France and had agreed to help meet some of the costs of the couple’s planned honeymoon.
Sheila said that Andy, a former Wigginton Primary and Joseph Rowntree School pupil, began developing kidney problems in the womb before his birth in June 1981.
It was treated, initially with success, but he needed to go on dialysis by the time he was ten and underwent his first kidney transplant when he was 12. “He had seven wonderful years before it finally rejected,” she said.
“He won silver and bronze medals at the national transplant games, entering in sports such as the shot putt and the 200 metre and 100 metre race.”
Andy had a second transplant when he was 23, which rejected after three weeks.
“He nearly died then, but he pulled through,” she said.
A third transplant lasted for about nine months, and in recent times he had been undergoing dialysis at York Hospital three times a week and hoping he might one day be able to undergo a fourth transplant. He was planning to get home dialysis equipment installed when he fell ill and had to go back into hospital.
She said Andrew was a hero to his brother Matthew, and his sister-in-law Anna had said he was an “inspirational person and a role model” to his two nieces and nephew, Vahri, Holly and Jack.
Peter praised the staff at York Hospital’s dialysis unit, who he said had given his son physical and emotional support over the years.
“He called them his ‘other Mums,’” he said.
• Andy’s funeral takes place at York Crematorium at 10.20am tomorrow, followed by a wake at the Cottage Inn, in Haxby.
Last year, The Press ran its Lifesavers campaign, to raise awareness of organ donation and to encourage people to join the register.
For more information on organ donation, or to sign up, phone 0300 1232323, visit organdonation.nhs.uk or text SAVE to 84118.
Andy packed so much into life
ANDY Watson’s death at the age of 30 came tragically early. He was a young man with everything to look forward to, including a wedding to sweetheart Liz Ward.
Sadly, he never lived to see that day. Yet despite everything, his life story is as much one of inspiration as it is one of tragedy.
Andy, a former Wigginton Primary and Joseph Rowntree School pupil, began developing kidney problems before he was even born.
He started dialysis at the age of ten, and had the first of three kidney transplants at 12. In the course of his life, he underwent more than 100 operations, but he never complained.
And he packed a great deal into his short life. He became an active sportsman, winning silver and bronze medals in sports such as the shot putt and the 100 and 200 metres at the national transplant games.
His parents, Sheila and Peter, said his last 18 months, after he met Liz, had been the happiest of his life.
It is desperately sad that he died when he did. But thanks to the three transplants he underwent, Andy enjoyed many years of precious life and happiness that he might otherwise have missed. Above all, perhaps, he lived to meet the young woman who was to be the love of his life.
That was a wonderful gift – and a perfect illustration of why we launched our Lifesavers campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the UK organ donor list. It only takes a minute to register online. For the sake of people such as Andy, please sign up today.