The youngest kidney donor in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s history has completed a charity bungee jump to thank staff for saving his dad’s life.
Josh Salmond, from Methil, Fife, was 21 years old when he gave his father Jimmy, 55, the gift of life after his kidneys stopped functioning properly.
Bodybuilder Jimmy was diagnosed with kidney disease as a result of hypertension, which had reduced his kidney function by 90%.
His condition had been exacerbated by intensive weight training, competitive bodybuilding and a high-protein diet which put additional strain on his kidneys and significantly increased his blood pressure.
Despite looking fit, Jimmy became more depleted of energy and his face revealed how unwell he really was.
Josh, the youngest in the family, insisted that his dad take his kidney after he refused help from other family members.
He said: “It took me by surprise that I would be the youngest kidney donor in the unit and that actually made me even more motivated to go ahead with the transplant as I wanted to inspire other people.
“My dad has an incredible mindset and he continued to train in the gym right up until the operation, but it was really scary watching him slowly deteriorate.”
In 2018, the father-son duo underwent a life-changing kidney transplant at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s Renal Transplant Unit, which was a success.
Josh added: “Within a few hours of the operation, my dad walked into my room with a Zimmer frame. I was in bed in a lot of pain, and I really didn’t want to get up, but my dad kept trying to make me laugh and he really motivated me to get moving.”
The pair believes the experience brought them closer together, and the pair now work together in a gym.
“I now work with my dad at a gym in Fife as a Personal Trainer,” Josh said. “One of my clients recently came to me after suffering a stroke and I’m helping him to recover his mobility.
“I have a lot of respect for people who overcome life changing obstacles like that, and I think my experience with the kidney transplant has meant that I can give even more to my clients.”
Five years on from the transplant, Josh and his sister Alexandra, 27, have raised over £1,000 for the Renal Transplant Unit in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh by completing a sponsored bungee jump.
Jimmy, 55, said: “I’m so thankful to my family and to my son for saving my life. The transplant experience has brought us even closer together.
“I couldn’t be prouder of both my children for doing the bungee jump to raise money for the amazing staff at the Renal Transplant Unit.
“Although there will always be part of me that would love to compete in bodybuilding again, at this stage of my life, I’m just happy to be here.”
Josh, now 26, said: “My sister and I really wanted to give something back to the transplant unit for nursing my dad and I back to health. The nurses and doctors on the ward were incredible and I can’t thank them enough.
“The bungee jump was absolutely exhilarating and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m really glad we could use it as an opportunity to raise money for other patients who need a transplant.”
Nina Kunkel, Live Donor Transplant Coordinator, NHS Lothian, said: “Josh’s story is incredibly inspiring, and I commend him for fundraising for the Renal Transplant Unit and for raising awareness of organ donation.
“We don’t always get to hear how someone is after they have left the unit, so it is wonderful to see how well Jimmy and Josh are doing. We wish them and their family all the very best.”
For details about organ donation, visit organdonationscotland.org.