Bradwell man marks 40th anniversary of his kidney transplant
ONE of the country's longest surviving kidney transplant patients is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his life-saving operation later this month.
Steve Brock, 57, from Bradwell, was one of the first people in the UK to have what was then a pioneering transplant at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge by Professor Sir Roy Calne.
Following the operation he had to live in a sterile isolation room and visitors had to wear protective suits to shield him from infection.
He is eternally thankful to his donor as without his or her generosity he would perhaps not be here today.
World Kidney Day was celebrated this week in 100 countries worldwide to raise awareness of the importance of healthy kidneys and the positive effects of transplantation.
Mr Brock's wife Anne-Mie said: 'We were invited to join a dinner - Celebrating 50 years of Transplantations - at the Dorchester Hotel in London a few years ago, and were surprised to find that in the UK there are only another nine kidney patients who have survived longer than my husband.
'It is difficult to know how long the 'average' kidney lasts, but more than half of transplants performed today will work for more than 10 years.
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'Perhaps you will then understand how well my husband has done.
'While his transplanted kidney was obviously a perfect match, the side effects of the anti-rejection drugs are sometimes harder to fight, and it does sometimes worry us a little when the hospital staff greet Steve by his first name.
'But my husband takes it all in his stride. He knows his very compatible transplant has meant a life free of dialysis and a life free of having to measure every spoonful of food he can eat.'
Mr Brock was diagnosed with kidney failure when he was 17 and after a short period of dialysis was given a transplant at the time helping to push back the boundaries of medical science.
In the days before mobile phones were invented, and not everyone had a phone or a car, hospitals sometimes had difficulty in alerting patients to a match.
In a race against time, while it was impossible to contact his parents, Mr Brock signed his own consent forms although being underage.
The couple have nothing but praise for the hospitals and NHS staff, and in particular Mr Torpey and his renal team at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, and Mr Graham and his team at the dermatology department at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.
Mr Brock has worked for Clays in Bungay for more than 40 years and the company has been very supportive.
His daughter Hannah will be running a half marathon in Bungay in aid of Kidney Research UK on April 15.
The couple are keen to promote organ donation through the NHS organ donor register, which can be contacted on 0845 6060 400 or via www.uktransplant.org.uk