Leighton Buzzard couple who had life-changing operation step forward to support transplant work through fundraising walk

A Leighton Buzzard couple who successfully underwent a unique simultaneous life-changing “live” liver transplant are behind a fundraising drive to help others who need a similar operation.

In the six years since Lesley Brazier donated around two-thirds of her liver to husband Keith in a “real time” double procedure carried out at Addenbrookes hospital near Cambridge, they have raised over £35,000 to help fund other pioneering work at the hospital.

And later this month, friends and family will be joining forces for a 68-mile fundraising march from Addenbrookes, finishing up at Leighton Buzzard’s Plantation Road golf club where they are both members.

Says mum-of-three Lesley: “The skills of the medical team at Addenbrookes hospital gave Keith a new lease of life, and we would like to think we can do a little something to help others who face the kind of challenge we faced nearly six years ago. The money we raise will be donated for a new liver profusion machine which maintains the viability of livers for transplant for up to 24 hours, compared to eight hours by conventional methods at present.

“This enables more tests to be carried out on the donor organ and up to 30 extra transplants a year to be carried out.”

It took a 20-strong team of surgeons, doctors and nurses working in adjoining operating theatres more than 12 hours to complete the process of transplanting around two-thirds of Lesley’s healthy liver to replace Keith’s damaged and failing organ. The operation was the first of its kind to be carried out at Addenbrookes, with Lesley, 59 at the time, the UK’s oldest live-liver transplant donor.

And though Keith, now 67, continues to take anti-rejection medication, both he and Lesley have made full recoveries and are leading normal lives.

The latest fundraising walk will begin at noon at Addenbrookes on Friday, June 28, with family and friends completing sections of the 68 -mile journey, following a scenic route taking in five sections of ancient trails along the Greensand Ridge though Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire. The plan is to reach the finishing line at Leighton Buzzard golf club around teatime on Sunday, June 30.

Adds Keith, who has lived and worked in Leighton Buzzard for 50 years: “The walk will also be in memory of a long-time friend Eddie Young who died earlier this year. His family made the brave decision to donate his organs so others could live, just as Eddie had wished.”

Anyone wishing to join in the walk would be made most welcome while donations to the fund can be made through the Keith Brazier on Just Giving. For other information, Keith can be contacted by email at: keithbrazier@btinternet.com