On the list: 'It's a waiting game now. It could be years before I find a match'

John Deans, 57, is a former lorry driver from Cumbria. The father of four has been on the kidney waiting list for more than two years. In the meantime he needs dialysis to stay alive. Thousands of people in his position face dwindling chances of a transplant because of increasing demand exacerbated by unhealthy lifestyles in the UK.

"I have been diabetic for nearly 30 years. There was no one in my family with diabetes. I wasn't overweight and I didn't drink alcohol, though I did drink a lot of sugary drinks, maybe three two-litre bottles every day. Three times a week for the past three years I leave the house by 6.30am for four hours hooked up to the dialysis machine. Afterwards, I feel so drained I just get on the sofa and stay there. I used to love working with our horses but now I just watch my wife.

"I've been on the organ list for more than two years and it's a waiting game now. I'm not as bad off as many people, but I could be waiting years for a match. How I would love my energy back. There are people at the dialysis unit who became overweight when they stopped working, ended up with diabetes and then kidney failure. Then there are others who have had infections. It is a mixed bunch.

"They can't cope with the numbers who need dialysis now so they will have to open more units if more and more people become overweight and end up diabetic. Young people don't realise the harm they are doing to their kidneys and livers. It might seem a long way off now, but if you're overweight or drinking too much you could develop diabetes and kidney failure in 20 years. It's not just the hours of sitting for dialysis; kidneys affect your whole life."

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