Round of golf at Hythe club leads to new kidney

Graham Sutherland and Mark Phillips playing golf

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Graham Sutherland (left) and Mark Phillips (right) met after playing in golf tournament

A golfer who was suffering from kidney failure is now healthy after meeting a donor on a golf course.

Mark Phillips, 55, used to have four hours of dialysis three days a week after his kidney function dropped to 8%.

Following a round of golf he met 70-year-old Graham Sutherland who volunteered to be a living donor.

The pair turned out to be a close blood and tissue match and now the two men share more than a love of golf.

Mr Phillips said: “It was life changing for me. We had to wait to see if I was a match, but there was something inside that made me think it was such a unique opportunity and a chance meeting I just knew we’d be a match.”

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Graham Sutherland (left) and Mark Phillips (right) are now firm friends and golfing buddies

A year before, the Metropolitan Police officer had been told he was suffering from IgA nephropathy, in which protein builds up in the kidneys and damages the tissues.

The pair were playing a friendly match at the Sene Valley Golf Club in Hythe in May 2018 having met on a golfing trip three years earlier when they got talking about Mr Phillips’ health.

Mr Sutherland said: “The following day I was thinking about Mark. I said that as I was hoping to meet the criteria in order to donate a kidney, should we be compatible, would he like mine?”

In October the successful operation to give Mr Phillips took place and he is now returning to work following treatment to stop his body rejecting the new organ.

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Mark Phillips

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Mark Phillips was on kidney dialysis for four hours, three times a week before his transplant

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Graham Sutherland

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Graham Sutherland said he “felt fine” days after he donated one of his kidneys

Mr Sutherland, from Ashford in Kent, said: “It is quite painful afterwards after all the drugs have worn off, but after about three of four days you’re fine.

“Its given me a warm glow and it makes you feel very humble.”

“How do you thank someone for the gift of life,” Mr Phillips said.

“Every time I see Graham it is overwhelming.

“Although, obviously I don’t let him win.”

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