Northants Organ Donor Meets The Man She Saved

24 December 2018, 16:04 | Updated: 24 December 2018, 16:21

Teresa Dobson Joe Salvatore

An organ donor from Northamptonshire who gave her kidney to a stranger broke down in tears when she finally met the man whose life she saved.

Teresa Dobson, 62, from Kettering, said she had not thought about donating a kidney until she heard about it on the radio and told herself:

"I think I could do that for somebody.

I have good health and I had two kidneys and I only needed one of them.

So I thought why not give one to somebody else to help give them a better life and maybe save their life."

The lucky recipient was 70 year-old Joe Salvatore, who she has now finally met after exchanging anonymous letters following the donation five years ago.

Speaking after their emotional first meeting, Mrs Dobson said the pair "got on really well".

Donor Teresa Dobson meets the recipient of her kidney, Joe Salvatore, for the first time in, Kings Langley.

Mr Salvatore, from Surrey, said the transplant has changed his life.

"Everybody says how much better I look. I feel better. I feel fitter," he said.

Mr Salvatore had been undergoing treatment for renal failure for 15 years, but when doctors discovered both of his kidneys were severely failing, they made it clear he needed an urgent transplant.

His wife and daughter initially offered their kidneys, but they were not suitable.

However, Mr Salvatore's daughter, Carmel Dalby, did donate her kidney to another stranger as part of a four-way altruistic donor chain which meant her father could receive one.

"Really if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have got a kidney," he said of his daughter.

"And I'm really grateful for her. She's a nice, strong girl and I'm really proud of her."

Mr Salvatore said the transplant means he can continue his martial arts training, his passion that also helps him to keep fit.

"Teresa's made my life a whole new life again and I'm able to enjoy my life with my family, with my group of friends," he said.

What a wonderful person Teresa is, and people like her, who can actually donate to somebody they don't even know."

At first, the pair exchanged occasional anonymous letters, which were arranged through their hospital transplant units.

Then she suggested they could meet in person - and Mr Salvatore replied to say he would be "very happy" to do so.

Mr Salvatore said he was "very nervous" before the meeting, adding:

"Meeting Teresa for the first time today, I promised I'd be strong.

But of course at the end I wasn't. I did break down a bit. It was very nice to meet her. A lovely woman."