Football coach back to doing what he loves thanks to kidney transplant at Southmead Hospital

Monday, 4 September 2017

A football coach who received a kidney transplant at Southmead Hospital is encouraging people to sign up to the organ donation register.

Poole resident Marc Masso Del Llano, aged 42, suffers from Polycystic Kidney Disease which effects kidney function until there is total renal failure. 

Marc had been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant for over two years, until his kidney function had reached just 9%.

“As I had been living with the disease for so long and it is a continual gradual decline I didn't realise how poorly I actually was. You just get on with trying to be upright every day,” said Marc.

Before getting the call to tell him that a donor match was available, Marc had been preparing to go on dialysis. Marc had expected to be on dialysis for at least two years, and had been talking to an NHS counsellor to help him through the process.

“I had seen an NHS counsellor for six months to get my head in the right place for dialysis because I thought it would be the end of a normal life.  As it was I had the catheter inserted on 9th June and then a week later on Father’s Day I got the call. I never started dialysis as a result. I knew for ages that I had to have a bag ready and packed but because I never thought that call would happen so soon I never prepared one,” explained Marc.

Marc’s transplant operation at Southmead Hospital took place at 11pm on June 19, 2017. He was in hospital for eight days before heading home, and now through his determination and positive attitude he has started football coaching again.

Marc Masso Del Llano post operation

“Since the operation I am up and about and back football coaching. The tablets are plentiful and you have to be strict with the times and doses; it is a small price to pay. I think that because of my level of fitness prior to my transplant and my bloody-mindedness it has made my recovery quicker,” said Marc.

Now Marc is back on his feet, he has been reflecting on the kidney donor and the donor’s family who have given Marc such a precious gift: “I feel unconditional love and gratitude to the donor and his family. At the most difficult time, the donor's family, in unimaginable grief, agreed to respect his wishes and donate his organs. It was so incredibly brave and it has changed my life. My wife is expecting and it will allow me to be the father that I want to be.” 

When Marc has fully recovered he plans to climb Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of organ donation and fundraise for Southmead Hospital and the Bristol Area Kidney Patients Association (BAKPA). Thanks to the BAKPA charity, Marc’s wife and family were able to stay at Hales House for eight days so that they could be close to Marc while he was in hospital.

Marc commented: “My life was going to be on dialysis which would have been limiting or at the very least an inconvenience. It may have made travelling abroad and coaching football - which I love - difficult. Since the transplant those doors are wide open again. It has made me determined to live the best life I can in honour of the donor, and raise awareness of organ donation and encourage people to register as donors.”

Samuel Turner, renal transplant surgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust said: “It is fantastic that Marc has returned to doing something he loves as a result of the kindness of another in their final hour.

“With the current shortage of organs, we encourage all families across the country to discuss organ donation openly so that everyone has the chance to make the gift that will transform the lives of others.”