A couple have set up a support group for organ donors and recipients to help dispel myths of what being a "living donor" means.
Dawn Roach, a florist who lives in Pelsall, Walsall, knows exactly what the process involves after she gave one of her kidneys to her husband David, who suffered from polycystic kidney disease.
By May 2002 his condition had deteriorated so far that doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Edgbaston, told him he would need regular dialysis within 12 months and began discussing transplant options. Three months later Dawn discovered she was a compatible blood and tissue type to be a living donor.
However, before the operation was performed in November 2003, they met consultants and surgeons to discuss what would happen.
Mrs Roach, aged 40, said: "Doctors are good at explaining the medical aspects of procedures but not good at talking about the emotions you go through.
"I'd seen the long term effects of dialysis on David's mother - she was exhausted all the time, lethargic, couldn't walk upstairs without getting breathless - it was awful.
"I wanted to prevent that happening to him. I knew if I could be a donor and a transplant was successful that we would both benefit. People say you must be really brave but I just wanted my David back."
Mr Roach had dialysis three days a week before surgeons could remove both his kidneys, which had become enlarged, in August 2003.
On November 29, 2003, they both went into theatre where surgeons performed the transplant which changed both their lives.
Mr Roach, aged 43, said: "We felt we needed to do something huge to make the transplant worthwhile, so we talked about setting up a support group with our transplant surgeon because we felt the patient information we received was inadequate.
"Living donors can dramatically change people's lives, but there are still so many misconceptions about what's involved we thought a support group could help dispel those.
"With one kidney you don't have to live on a restrictive diet or be shackled to dialysis machines - you can live your life how you want."
The couple set up a phone network last summer offering patients and would-be donors the chance to talk to other people who have been living donors or received a live transplant. Since September they have staged several information evenings at the QE.
In 2005 nearly a third - 39 of 125 - of all kidney transplants performed at the hospital were done using living donors, and that figure is set to rise according to Sue Moore, one of the hospital's living donor
co-ordinators. She said: "Live donations have become a very real option in the past year or so, now we know the outcome is good for donor and recipient.
"I think we will see the number of living donors rise in the coming years, but that won't happen without better access to support and information.
"Talking to someone who's been through the emotional rollercoaster involved can be a great help, so Dawn and David's group is providing an important service."
* More information from the West Midlands Living Donors Support Group on 07834 324756 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call QE's living donor coordinators Sheryl Parsons or Sue Moore on 0121 471 1311.