‘If my sister’s kidney fails I won’t donate one of mine’

Without knowing the full facts, we shouldn’t rush to judgment.

But asking someone to donate a kidney or bone marrow isn’t like wanting to borrow their car for the weekend.

It can be a life-changing decision for the donor too, and needs to be made calmly and clearly, rather than on a wave of sentimental emotion.

Admittedly, that goes against the grain when it comes to family. We all think with our hearts rather than our heads when someone we love is in danger.

But we owe it to all those who depend on us, not just the person in need, to make the right choice – which isn’t always the easiest one.

The reason I cannot in all conscience now offer a lifeline to my sister is that since we left home our lives have followed such different paths that – in brutal terms – I am not now willing to risk my life to save hers.

I did better at school than my sister, in part due to her constant illnesses, and at 18, won a place at Oxford. Philippa left school the same year, with a good clutch of O-levels, to take a secretarial job.

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