Riding for my children – David Thirkettle’s story

18 July 2017

David Thirkettle has decided to enter the Prudential RideLondon 100 mile bike ride to give a little back for all the care his two children, Gemma and Luke, received.

close up of two smiling women and two men
Michelle, David, Luke and Gemma

‘Our two children, Gemma and Luke, were born with infantile polycystic kidneys, a genetic disease that eventually stops kidney function, which meant they required a kidney transplant. Gemma's kidneys gave up four years ago and after five months of tests, we found out the great news that my kidney was an excellent match and I was able to donate it to Gemma in a very successful transplant.

‘As a father, the decision to donate an organ to make your child’s life normal and active again is the easiest decision in the world - although it didn’t quite dawn on me that it was really going to happen until the trolley arrived to take me to theatre! It was equally strange for Michele and Luke because at first myself, and then Gemma, were taken to theatre and so you have two loved ones in operating theatres whilst all you can do is sit and wait to see them again. Needless to say, it was a very long and emotional day!

‘The care we received at Guy’s Hospital was unbelievable too, as the amount of incredible staff involved in the transplant. From the first meeting with our kidney transplant co-ordinator, to meeting the surgeons, to the porters taking us to theatre, to the aftercare we both still receive to this day and everyone in-between!
They have all made the journey as smooth as possible, so much so that, within a few months of receiving her new kidney, Gemma was able to go back to her "Exploring the World" ways and, as we write this, she is still exploring and is now in Nicaragua!

‘It’s for all these reasons that I have decided to give a little back for all the care we received and so have entered the Prudential Ride London – a 100 mile bike ride around London and Surrey.

‘Our story has not ended yet as Luke’s kidneys will decide to bail out in the next few years and Michele will be his donor. This time it will be myself and Gemma's turn to help wheel them down to theatre. But knowing that we have this amazing team ready to help us again makes it all that little bit easier!

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