A YOUNG man is looking forward to a bright future after undergoing a life-changing kidney transplant.

Dan Skelton, 23, of Easingwold, was awoken at 4.30am last Tuesday and told to get to St James’s Hospital in Leeds as soon as possible, because a suitable donor kidney had become available.

He made it by 6.15am and, after tests and scans confirmed the kidney was almost a perfect match, doctors went ahead with a two-hour operation by teatime. Now, just over a week later, he is recuperating at home.

He said: “It went very well and it’s a case of so far, so good, though I have to be cautious because there is still a higher risk of rejection for the first year.”

He said he needed to avoid large crowds for the next three months because anti-rejection drugs had weakened his immune response if he came across infections.

The former Gillamoor goalkeeper is looking forward to seeing his team, Coventry City, playing again next season.

He also hoped to go for mini-breaks to London later in the year and then abroad next year. “I’m also hoping to get a job at some stage,” he said.

He revealed how close he had come to needing dialysis before he received the phone call. “My kidney function had fallen as low as seven or eight per cent, and I thought I would be on dialysis by April, just a year after I first went on the transplant waiting list.”

Dan, a former Ryedale School pupil who used to live in Helmsley, needed a kidney from a stranger on the Organ Donor Register because a live donor transplant from relatives was not possible. He said his experience was yet another good reason why people should join the register, on behalf of which The Press campaigned with last year’s Lifesaver campaign.

He said he had not been told whose kidney he had been given, other than that it was someone from the south, but he was very grateful to the donor and their family.

He said he had been diagnosed in 2006 with a kidney disease called Focal Segmental Glomeruli Sclerosis – FSGS.

The condition was likely to have been triggered by an infection, with his immune system attacking his kidneys instead of the disease. He had suffered scarring all over his upper body and swelling from prescribed drugs such as steroids.