Leamington man helps save work colleague’s life by donating his kidney to her

Pictured:  Ashley Turnbull in hospital after donating a kidney to his work colleague Paige Johnstone.
Pictured: Ashley Turnbull in hospital after donating a kidney to his work colleague Paige Johnstone.

A recruitment worker from Leamington donated a kidney to save the life of one of his work colleagues.

And just months after the gruelling operation, he was able to muster the strength to part in a charity boxing match.

Pictured:  Ashley Turnbull with his work colleague Paige Johnstone who he donated a kidney too.

Pictured: Ashley Turnbull with his work colleague Paige Johnstone who he donated a kidney too.

Ashley Turnbull, 25, offered one of his kidneys to fellow recruitment worker Paige Johnstone after tests revealed they were a match.

To her horror, Miss Johnstone, 27, had found out she had kidney failure in July 2017, and was in urgent need of a transplant.

In a desperate attempt to help one of his friends, Mr Turnbull underwent a year of tests to find out whether one of his own kidneys was a match for his colleague, while working together in Coventry.

Experts confirmed it was and so he underwent a five hour transplant operation in July 2018.

Mr Turnbull, of Russell Terrace in Leamington, said: “Paige and I had been working together for a year-and-a-half and had become really close so I couldn’t believe it when she told me she had kidney failure.

“I wanted to do something to help her, so I went through all the tests and amazingly we came back as a match.”

Yet shortly after donating his kidney, and feeling ‘a pound lighter’ he signed up to take part in charity event Ultra White Collar Boxing alongside his friend Joey Whittaker, 25.

After eight weeks of intensive training, the pair took to the ring and raised £700 between them for Cancer Research UK.

The friends fought one after the other, but were both stopped in the second round and lost their respective bouts.

Describing his experience, Mr Turnbull added: “I was at a friend’s house watching an Anthony Joshua fight, and said to Joey that we should give boxing a go.

“So we signed up to Ultra White Collar Boxing just five months after the operation and luckily I was medically cleared to take part.

“Win, lose or draw, you won’t ever feel better than having your friends and family cheer your name whilst you get punched in the face,” he joked, adding: “We raised a lot of money and got into shape at the same time, it was amazing.

“I donated one of my kidneys in July and I was in the boxing ring in December so there really are no excuses for not getting involved.”

Jon Leonard, who runs Ultra White Collar Boxing, said: “This was a brilliant effort by Ashley to bounce back after to donating a kidney to his friend.

“All credit to Ashley - he raised a considerable amount of money for a fantastic charity and we’re very pleased he enjoyed taking part so much.”

The next Ultra White Collar Boxing event takes place in Coventry on July 13 and taining for that event is already well underway.

Anyone who fancies joining training for the UWCB event being held in the city in December can find out more by visiting https://www.ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk/locations/coventry/