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Leading article: Hats off to the modern-day altruists


There is a common lament that modern life has left us all more selfish and self-absorbed than ever before. Kay Mason – who was the first person to donate a kidney to a stranger – and the 99 who have since followed her lead give the lie to so bleak a vision.

The former nurse may shrug off her decision as little different from trying to save someone from drowning. But those no longer facing death from renal failure or subject to the tyranny of dialysis might put the case in stronger terms.

All that is needed now is more of the same. There are 7,000-plus people waiting for a kidney. If just a tiny fraction of those who say they would consider donating went ahead, that demand would instantly be met.

For many of us, major surgery and one less kidney are a daunting prospect. We can only applaud Ms Mason et al. Theirs is a humbling example – and just proves what humanity is capable of.