Meet the Carmarthenshire man with four kidneys — and three pancreases
CARMARTHEN dad Carl Jones knows better than most the importance of organ donation.
The 32-year-old, from Coronation Road, has had both kidneys and his pancreas transplanted — twice.
The operations have transformed his life.
He is a former Queen Elizabeth Maridunum pupil and had his first operation in 2004.
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The transplants needed to be repeated four years later.
Carl said: "I was a Type-1 diabetic from a young age and that eventually affected my kidneys and I also developed Alport Syndrome — a form of kidney failure."
A pancreas transplant is often combined with a kidney transplant to reduce progression of the complications of diabetes.
Prior to his first operation in Cardiff's Heath Hospital, Carl was on dialysis at Carmarthen's Glangwili Hospital to clean his blood of toxins three times a week.
At one stage this increased to five times a week as his kidneys could not flush out the waste.
As a diabetic he was also on daily insulin injections.
Carl, who is a van driver for Carmarthen frozen food supplier Castell Howell, said being able to go under the knife thanks to the organ donor register has meant he now only has to visit hospital for check-ups.
He said: "I have four kidneys inside me and three pancreases.
"My failed kidneys and pancreas were not removed, just room made inside me for the new ones."
He added: "I no longer need to take insulin because I'm not a diabetic anymore with the new pancreas, but I still have check ups to ensure everything is okay.
"The same with the kidneys, I go to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff once a year.
"I know people on dialysis can lead normal lives but the treatment does drain you three times a week or more in my case. The same with diabetes, it is not an easy disease to cope with but thousands of people with it live normally."
Carl will be taking part in the Walk for Life at the weekend in Carmarthen in aid of the Kidney Wales Foundation. The charity raises money for research and awareness of organ donating.
Carl added: "I am very grateful I was able to have the transplants which is why I am doing the Walk for Life along with my two-year- old son Ashton and girlfriend Zoe Stickland.
"Zoe has been a huge support and her family took me in following my second transplant operation."
The Walk for Life will start on Saturday at 2pm at St Peter's Civic Hall, Nott Square, then out to Glangwili Hospital and back.
Anyone wishing to take part can get a sponsorship form from Martin Presdee-Jones on 01558 668537.