MBE for man who loved his wife so much he gave her one of his kidneys

PUBLISHED: 18:35 06 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:49 15 June 2010

An East Devon man has been awarded an MBE for his services to health care in the New Year Honours List.

An East Devon man has been awarded an MBE for his services to health care in the New Year Honours List. He was inspired to help when his wife became ill.Robert Dunn, 66, received the award after 10 years work with the National Kidney Federation (NFK). He took on the role of national advocacy officer shortly after he gave his own kidney to his wife, Valerie, who had suffered chronic kidney disorder and established renal failure.The couple, who grew up together, were said to be the 'perfect match' - both in love and for a transplant.Mr Dunn, whose work involves campaigning for better treatment and services for renal patients, said: "It's the most wonderful job. Getting the honour is absolutely fantastic, I'm so delighted. I can't tell you how proud I feel."I sometimes work seven days a week, 24 hours a day - but really I'm doing a job that I absolutely love. It's so rewarding that I feel as if I'm cheating a bit for getting the award for it."However, I'm happier from the view of the NFK because it's really for their work. "It gives me a great opportunity to push their services forward. That really does please me."Mr and Mrs Dunn made the news when they became the third spouse transplant in the UK.Mr Dunn said he and his wife, who have been together for 45 years, were well suited.He said: "We were born within two weeks of each other, in the same hospital, lived round the corner from each other and went to the same school. "I was a perfect match for Valerie - and the odds of winning the lottery are greater. My mother said 'we knew you were a perfect match when you got together, but we never knew you were a match made in heaven'."I offered my kidney - as I almost lost her. She wasn't performing very well on dialysis so a transplant was considered."He said kidney disease could drop life levels by 60 to 70 per cent, and also took its toll on close ones, sometimes leading to relationship break-downs.Due to the knock-on effect of kidney conditions, Mr Dunn feels it is important to highlight the need for better services for patients.Mr Dunn's work includes offering counselling and support for patients with kidney problems. He also deals with any issues they may have with their treatment - helping to steer them through the NHS system.He said: "The only interest we have is that of the person. "We are a neutral party in every other way and are not influenced by outside bodies. "Our services are all strictly confidential and people can come in to use them on any level they wish."l The NFK is the only national charity in the UK run by kidney patients for kidney patients. The Federation's aim is to promote the best renal medical practice and treatment, and the health of people suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) or established renal failure (ERF). l It also supports the related needs of those relatives and friends who care for kidney patients.l For more information visit www.kidney.org.uk or call the helpline on 0845 601 0209. Alternatively, e-mail helpline@kidney.org.uk/

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