Forrestfield couple encourage organ donation after kidney transplant

Matthew and Diane Bell at their Osborne Park picture framing business. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Matthew and Diane Bell at their Osborne Park picture framing business. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

DIANE Bell is quick to tell people she is no hero.

The former intensive care nurse helped save the life of her husband Matthew more than two years ago by donating a kidney.

“People say ‘you’re a real hero’,” Diane said ahead of this week’s World Kidney Day. “I don’t think so.

“You’ve got two kidneys; you only need one.”The Bells from Forrestfield, who run a picture framing business in Osborne Park, made up their mind about the organ transplant while Matthew was on dialysis because of renal reflux.

He’s “definitely grateful”.

“I owe her big time you might say,” he said.

“We’re very practical about it because she was an intensive care nurse for a long time; she explains everything as we go.”

The couple joined Hasluck MHR Ken Wyatt, the Minister responsible for organ donation, in imploring people to think about donating their organs.

“I believe in an opt-out system of organ donation like Spain,” Matthew said.

Mr Wyatt described the Bells’ story as inspirational.

He said there were more than 1000 Australians on waiting lists for a kidney transplant and 11,000 people on dialysis.

“One in three Australians are at increased risk of kidney disease, so preventing the onset of renal failure and lifting organ donor registrations is crucial,” he said.

“Up to 90 per cent of our kidney function can be lost before we experience any symptoms, with risk factors including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and a family history of renal failure.

“The risk of kidney failure amongst indigenous people is even higher.”

Mr Wyatt used World Kidney Day to announce $430,000 in Community Awareness Grants for local initiatives to increase family discussion and registrations on

Applications are invited for local activities during DonateLife Week 2018 (July 29-August 5), or for other education activities during 2018-19 which focus on specific audiences.

“To increase donation outcomes, we need to raise consent rates and this can be achieved by more families discussing and registering to be donors,” he said.

Applications are invited from non-government organisations and professional bodies, including community-based not-for-profit organisations and local government associations.

Applications close on April 3 at 10am.

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