A FORMER soldier who spends 12 hours every week on dialysis as he waits for a life-changing kidney transplant has backed our campaign to get more people to donate organs.

Andy Henwood has already been on the waiting list for 18 months, but until a matching donor is found he must continue to go to York Hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for four hours of dialysis. Andy, 53, who lives with his wife Wendy in Osbaldwick, York, was diagnosed with kidney failure two years ago and would not be alive without the regular dialysis treatment he receives.

• From Page 1 He said he was looking forward to the day a successful kidney transplant would return his life to normal.

“When I first joined the waiting list I was told the average waiting time for a kidney was 860 days,” he said. “However, you could be lucky and it’s tomorrow or it could be in ten years’ time.

“Having a transplant would transform not only my life, but my whole family’s life. We could go back to the way life was.”

The father-of-three, who reached the rank of Warrant Officer before leaving the Army in 1996, said he was keen to back The Press’s Lifesavers campaign, which aims to encourage 20,000 people across York and North and East Yorkshire to join the Organ Donor Register by the end of this year. He said: “Just think about if it was your own relative that needed a transplant. By being on the register you are increasing the chance of lengthening somebody’s life by tens of years in the future.”

Mr Henwood, who now works as a support staff training manager at the University of York, said his brother, Chris, had suffered kidney failure when he was a teenager and owed the past four decades of his life to an organ donor.

“The cause of our kidney failure is unconnected,” he said. “I found out I had kidney failure when my father was dying of asbestosis. My wife, who is a community nurse in Tang Hall, was taking his blood pressure and he was feeling quite anxious so we said to him, we’re having our blood pressure done, so why don’t you have yours done as well. Mine was dangerously high.”

• More than 5,000 people signed up to save a life in the first 100 days of our campaign which we launched in December following the death of Miss York finalist Emma Young, 22, who died while awaiting a double-lung transplant. We are aiming to get an extra 20,000 people in our circulation area to sign up to the Organ Donor Register by the end of this year. To find out how you can be among them, go to our Lifesavers campaign>>