A GWENT man who spent almost three decades on dialysis after suffering kidney failure is "ecstatic" after getting his long-awaited kidney transplant.
Lawrence Evans was 23 and working towards an electrician qualification when he volunteered to give blood at the Skills Centre, Newport.
After finding he was anaemic, Mr Evans booked a doctors appointment and was rushed to hospital as his potassium levels were dangerously high.
Mr Evans, of Commercial Street, Pontnewydd, said he was shocked as he had no other symptoms apart from feeling light-headed. He was told by a doctor at the Cardiff Royal Infirmary that his hobby, riding a motorbike, could have killed him as the stimulation of riding, coupled with high potassium, could have stopped his heart at any minute.
His kidney failure was brought on complications with his spina bifida, a condition he was born with.
Mr Evans, 52, believed dialysis would only be temporary, but for eight hours, three times a week for the next 29 years, he was hooked up to a dialysis machine.
For the first six months, his treatment was at Cardiff Royal Infirmary, after which he did it at home, a total of 4,524 times.
Determined to not let his condition get the better of him, Mr Evans married his wife Meryl, 49, in 1981, taking a portable dialysis machine on their honeymoon to France.
Some days, he could not do anything, as his condition made him feel exhausted and poorly.
On April 13, his life changed dramatically, as while holidaying in Cornwall with his wife, Meryl, he finally received the call he was waiting for. The couple rushed home and he got his transplant the following day.
"I was ecstatic, all of my friends couldn't believe it after so long, my wife was over the moon," said Mr Evans.
He spent 16 days recovering in University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, before being allowed home.
The couple, who run gift and furniture shop, Cane & Able, in The Parade, Cwmbran, hope to visit Mr Evans' sister June Bennett in Australia next year to coincide with their 30th wedding anniversary.
He can even enjoy the odd pint of Guinness.
Mr Evans wants to encourage more people to join the donor register and tells people waiting for a transplant to never give up hope because they too will one day get a new lease of life.