Scottish Golf Courses

Kidney transplant has brothers back on the tee together

An Edinburgh golf club member went the extra mile to ensure his seriously ill younger brother could play golf again… by donating one of his kidneys.

The Ratho Park members are now raising money for Kidney Research UK 

An Edinburgh golf club member went the extra mile to ensure his seriously ill younger brother could play golf again… by donating one of his kidneys.

Nineteen years on from his first kidney transplant, Ratho Park member Billy Stevenson’s condition started to deteriorate and, after witnessing first-hand the effects dialysis had on him the first time around, 68-year-old brother Robert – ten years Billy’s senior – knew he had to act.

“The first time he was on dialysis, I was undergoing treatment for cancer so I couldn’t offer myself at that time,” Robert told UK Club Golfer.

“Back then, Billy was going into hospital every two days, for most of the day, and when he came out, he was always very tired because it’s so debilitating. Mentally, he didn’t have any interest other than trying to survive. Although he did try at the weekend to get out, playing golf proved too difficult.”

“When he had to go back on dialysis again this time, it completely floored him. He had absolutely no energy to do anything and it was as if his life had stopped.

“He was giving up because he had to go back on the waiting list which, at the time, was about five years. I thought there was no way he could survive for five years so, after speaking to my family, I got checked out to see if my kidney would be compatible.”

Thankfully, Robert’s kidney was compatible. On May 10, 2017, the brothers underwent their operations simultaneously and, now, Billy is back working as an electrician and also accompanying his brother on the golf course again.

“We’re now in far more regular contact and, I’ve said this to my wife, he’s now more like the brother that I used to know before he had the first transplant – a very sociable, fit young guy,” added Robert.

After their experience, their home club Ratho Park is holding a golf day on July 4, with proceeds going to Kidney Research UK. For the Texas Scramble event, which costs £25 per player and includes 18 holes, coffee, bacon roll and a post-round meal, the brothers are hoping to negotiate that £15 of the £25 per head is donated to Kidney Research UK to continue their fantastic work.

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