A man who battled through dialysis for two decades has told how his brother saved his life through organ donation. 

Growing up, Mahroof Farooq's childhood would switch between board games with his siblings and painful kidney treatments at the hospital.

But in adulthood, Mahroof was left in urgent need of a transplant.

It was one of his younger siblings, Shakoor Ahmed, who felt called to become a living organ donor. 

Shakoor, managing director of My Lahore, said: “I’ve come from a close-knit family but all of my siblings would play together.

“I remember Mahroof before he had the kidney issue. He was very strong, very clever. Even at school, he was very sharp, very gifted and very talented.

Asian Image: Brothers Shakoor Ahmed and Mahroof Farooq, picturedBrothers Shakoor Ahmed and Mahroof Farooq, pictured (Image: NHS)

“In the early years, we weren't really aware of the severity of the illness, we were just like, he’s ill in hospital, you know, he's just gone in for something and he'll be back soon. It was upsetting to see my brother, who was our rock. 

“He was the eldest and I’ve still got memories of going up with my mum, catching three different buses just to get to the hospital.”

Mahroof said: “I'd been on dialysis for two decades. It was extremely painful and I would scream, and I still remember Shak holding my right arm, so I didn't pull the needles out.

“It got to a point when I think my body had just taken what it could. I couldn't have carried on like that.”

The only solution was a kidney transplant, but Mahroof declined his brother’s initial offer amid concerns over the implications on his health. 

“I thought, my life's gone anyway,” Mahroof said.

“I didn't want to jeopardise his life in any form. So I didn't tell him, I just contacted the doctor directly myself.”

Shakoor went through a series of tests and pleaded his case with the help of his parents and wider family.

The transplant process got underway, unlocking a new chapter of Mahroof’s life and health. 

“The quality of my life increased and it was a new life,” Mahroof said.

“I could eat and drink whatever I wanted, I was a totally different person. He’s not only given me life, he’s given my wife, my kids a life. What he has done is something I couldn't repay, even if I gave my own life to him.”

Shakoor also signed up to the organ donation register, meaning his organs can be used when he passes away. 

It comes as 162 people in Bradford remain in wait for a lifesaving transplant, according to the latest figures.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is sharing the message during Organ Donation Week, held from Monday, September 18, to Sunday, September 24.

More than 170,000 people in Bradford have already signed the Organ Donor Register. 

Anyone can sign up in only a couple of minutes by visiting the website, www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision

Asian Image: Karen Piotr with her late husband, Mark, who donated his organs after deathKaren Piotr with her late husband, Mark, who donated his organs after death (Image: NHS handout)

Karen Piotr, the hospital’s organ donation committee chairperson, became involved in the cause after her husband, Mark, died following a catastrophic brain bleed and donated his organs. 

Karen, a Donor Family Network Trustee, said: “Between 2022 and 2023, four people from the district died waiting for the donor organ that never came, which is a tragedy for our patients and their families.

“In the same period, 64 people across the district received the gift of life while ten donations occurred due to the generosity of people who died in Bradford.

“Here in Bradford we see the huge benefits that organ donation can bring so please, this organ donation week, talk to your family and leave them certain about your wishes.”

Only around 1 per cent of people who die in the UK every year are usually able to donate their organs after death.

Donors are typically those who have died in a hospital intensive care unit or emergency department due to brain injuries, cardiac arrest or trauma.

Dr James Morgan, clinical lead for organ donation and an intensive care consultant at the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Organ donation is seen as a gift of life. One organ donor has the potential to save nine lives, which is an incredible legacy to leave.

“I would urge people throughout the city and region to sit down together, learn and talk about organ donation with their families and loved ones, so that your wishes are clear.”