Lomu's health sparks kidney donor interest

By Chloe Johnson

Kerry Vallis hoped to donate a kidney to Jonah Lomu. Photo / Rhys Palmer
Kerry Vallis hoped to donate a kidney to Jonah Lomu. Photo / Rhys Palmer

When Kerry Vallis heard two ex-All Blacks were in hospital with kidney complications she wanted to become their donor.

The 39-year-old hoped she could be a match for Jonah Lomu or Joeli Vidiri but was told she couldn't because she wasn't family or a close friend.

Auckland District Health Board transplant unit clinical director Stephen Munn, who was involved with Lomu's medical care, said donors could not chose who received their organs because it wouldn't be fair on the 600 people waiting for a kidney.

"It's to do with what we regard as equity of access for people because otherwise the only way people who are likely to get transplanted are people who have a lot of notoriety. Anyone who isn't in the public face much or isn't so good looking or charismatic wouldn't be able to attract donors in that way," he said.

Vallis, of Hamilton, was one of dozens who enquired about becoming a donor after Lomu revealed his transplanted kidney was failing.

She initially wanted to give her kidney to one of the rugby greats but said anyone who needed a kidney could have hers if they matched.

Kidney Health New Zealand education manager Carmel Gregan-Ford said interest from potential donors had spiked.

To enquire about becoming a kidney donor call 0800 KIDNEY

- Herald on Sunday

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