Desperate Scots dad turns to social media to look for a kidney donor

Marcus Trapp at his home on the Isle of Bute (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)
Marcus Trapp at his home on the Isle of Bute (Chris Austin / DC Thomson)

A DAD facing down acute renal failure has gone on Facebook to find a kidney donor.

Marcus Trapp is using the social media platform in the hope someone can come forward and give him the gift of life.

His matter-of-fact but powerful post reads: “Looking for a kidney donor. I have been on dialysis for a year and a half now. It’s a simple blood test to find out if you are a tissue and blood type match and you’d be saving my life at the same time.”

With more than 400 people on the waiting list and an average three-year wait for a deceased donor, Marcus, who is just 39, made the decision to seek a living donor online.

“Hopefully there is someone out there who can help me,” said Marcus from his home in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute. “In theory I could live the rest of my life on dialysis but anything past five years is a bonus. I want to stick around longer than that. I want to see my son growing up.”

Six-year-old Evan knows about his dad’s illness. Marcus said: “I’ve explained it to him but and he says, ‘Daddy is going to get a new bit and then he’ll be fine’.”

The former radio DJ had been suffering on and off for years. “I had been going to the doctor with urinary infections and was told that there was protein in my urine and it was nothing to worry about. Then it happened,” said Marcus.

“I had picked Evan up from school and I collapsed on the floor at my ex-partner’s house. I was taken to hospital and they said, ‘Right. You need to go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow straight away because your kidneys are in failure.’

“I was helicoptered from the island to the Queen Elizabeth. I was there for three weeks recovering. They told me I had to go on dialysis and my kidneys were failing. I was stage five renal failure, that’s the worst you can be, and I had chronic kidney disease. It’s not nice realising you are going to die.

“If I had gone any longer without treatment I would have passed away. The strange thing was it came like a bolt out of the blue. I was comparatively healthy. None of my family has had kidney problems. You won’t actually die of kidney disease, you will die of a heart attack. The kidney failure affects the heart.”

Marcus and his son, Evan

Now Marcus, who is on medication for his condition, also has three five-hour dialysis sessions a week at Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock. This involves an early-morning start to catch the first ferry at 5.55am to Wemyss Bay and then on to the hospital.

“You’re fatigued being on the go from early morning,” said Marcus. “It would be so much better if there were dialysis facilities on Bute and there is an ongoing campaign for that at the moment.”

The stark reality of his situation is all too clear to Marcus. “There are four of us from the island going for dialysis at Inverclyde,” he said.

“We are all on the waiting list. The were six of us, but sadly two have passed away. Knowing I am living on borrowed time is always on my mind. I think about it every day.

“I thought I would give it a go on social media. Why not? I’ve got nothing to lose anyway. I want to be around for a few more years yet. Here’s hoping.”

Organ Donation Scotland, which is part of the Scottish Government’s Healthier Scotland campaign, said: “Living kidney donation is an exceptional gift that can transform the life of someone on the transplant waiting list.”

A healthy person can lead a completely normal life with only one working kidney. In the past 10 years, more than 500 people in Scotland have transformed the lives of others and become kidney donors. Now about half of all kidney donations come from living donors.