A NURSE has donated her kidney to a stranger after years of working with patients in desperate need of a transplant.

In her day job, renal nurse Rachel Cox sees the gruelling impact of dialysis treatment on people whose kidneys have failed.

The mum-of-two, who works at Crosshouse Hospital, decided take the selfless step to undergo an operation for someone she didn’t even know.

She underwent surgery at the Queen Elizabeth in Glasgow before her kidney was rapidly whisked away to another hospital. Later that afternoon, it was placed in another person’s body.

Rachel, 48, said: “I hope the person has a better life because of my kidney. They did not ask for it, but I had a spare to give.

“Some people could be waiting decades for an organ donation while others die before they get one. I have worked in kidneys for 15 years and dialysis is not for wimps. It is a tough life.”

Rachel, who works as a renal practice educator, has now fully recovered. After undergoing surgery in 2017, she will run the London Marathon in April for Kidney Research UK.

Her husband Iain, 55, and two teenage daughters were concerned about her before the procedure.

Thankfully, drugs helped relieve the pain and Rachel was back at work after just eight weeks. A scar on her tummy is now a reminder of the sacrifice when she went above and beyond the duty of a nurse.

Rachel, of Troon, said: “For a couple of weeks afterwards I was quite uncomfortable. I was scared about the pain and what would happen beforehand.

“But even though it seems scary it really isn’t. I would never push anyone into doing it. It is a personal decision. But I wanted to give a kidney while I was still young. My kidney was in good condition.”

Physical tests and a psychological assessment were part of the requirement before Rachel got the go-ahead to be a donor.

Her story has attracted the attention of health bosses and her achievement was discussed at the most recent NHS Ayrshire & Arran board meeting.

Rachel said: “My hope is the person will have a long life without dialysis. I hope they have extra time to enjoy their life. I have given them the gift freely. I would say to them: ‘live your life your way.’ I would be disappointed if they were miserable.”

Many donors give a kidney to a family member. Rachel is branded a rare ‘altruistic’ donor because she didn’t know the recipient.

Rachel added: “People say an altruistic donor gets nothing from it. But I got an immense sense of satisfaction. I have done something to improve somebody else’s life.”

To help Rachel raise money, visit: http://bit.ly/RachRunsLondon