A student veterinary nurse who donated one of his kidneys to a stranger is urging people in the veterinary profession to consider organ donation.
This week (July 7 to 13) is National Transplant Week and Ritchie hopes people nationwide will consider donating an organ.
“One of the kindest things you can do is give someone the chance to live a normal life,” he said, “and kidney donation does that without affecting your own life.
“The whole process of kidney donation has been so rewarding for me, and to think that I’ve helped transform someone’s life makes it even more amazing.”
Ritchie started working for Medivet in August 2011 as a patient care assistant and in September will enter his third year of veterinary nursing training.
After qualifying he hopes to gain an advanced certificate in critical care and emergency medicine.
Before he was able to donate a kidney Ritchie needed health checks and underwent psychological profiling.
“The health team wanted to be sure I was strong enough, and that I was doing this for the right reasons,” he said.
“I had to take time off work for tests and the operation itself, but my employers were happy to support me in that. On the day of the donation my colleagues all wanted to know how I’d got on.”
The removal of a kidney will not affect Ritchie’s future health, though he attends annual check-ups. In July last year he raised £400 for Kidney Research UK by a tandem parachute jump.