Monday 30th April 2012
Racing pundit Richard Pitman has been appointed ambassador to a health charity three months after he donated a kidney to a stranger.
The former champion jockey became an altruistic donor after watching a close friend suffer from kidney disease. Now he has become an ambassador for Kidney Research UK.
Pitman, who won 470 races before joining the BBC in 1976, saw how a transplant changed his friend's life. The transformation inspired Pitman to give up one of his own kidneys, despite not knowing who would receive it.
Since his operation he has fully recovered and is back riding.
He said: "I've given a kidney, so have done all I can to help in one respect. What's important now is that more is done to help fund research into making transplants last longer and preventing kidney disease in the first place.
"I'm very pleased to be supporting Kidney Research UK and am looking forward to raising greater awareness about the charity and kidney disease in my new role."
Kidney Research UK funds research into the treatment and prevention of kidney disease.
Charles Kernahan, chief executive of Kidney Research UK, said: "We're extremely grateful to Richard for his support. With 3,000,000 people in the UK at risk from kidney disease, it's vital we do all we can to make this silent epidemic a public health priority."