Former footballer Andy Cole and TV’s Married at First Sight’s Marilyse Corrigan are amongst those backing a new initiative to encourage more people to consider living kidney donation as a new poll reveals just 14% of adults in the West Midlands would consider donating a kidney to a stranger, despite 71% of them believing you can change someone’s life even if you’ve never met them.

The poll, undertaken by YouGov, is part of a new UK-wide campaign, Make Your Mark, launched by two national charities to encourage more people to consider becoming a living kidney donor.

The poll also highlighted that in the West Midlands:

  • 50% of adults would consider donating a kidney to a family member.
  • Nearly a third (27%) of adults would consider donating to a friend.
  • Just 14% of adults said they'd recently heard about living kidney donation.
  • 64% of adults aspire to leave a positive impact on the world even if it costs them something.

These findings come at the same time as national statistics show more than 5,500 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the UK, and six people die each week whilst waiting.

Make Your Mark has been launched by the charities Kidney Research UK and Give a Kidney to raise awareness and help more people understand what it means to be a living donor. The two charities are working with support from NHS Blood and Transplant as well as a full panel of specialist clinical and surgical advisors. 

The campaign is part of a wider programme of activity that will provide potential donors with information and specialist help to guide and support them throughout their donation journey, starting with the Make Your Mark website.

Andy Cole (pic), who received a kidney from his nephew in 2017 after suffering from kidney failure, said: "Kidney disease is one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with and I know how lucky I am that my nephew was so willing to give up his kidney for me.

“It's important to raise more awareness of living kidney donation so that kidney patients and potential donors can have more open conversations about it and potentially save the lives of others like me in the future." Marilyse Corrigan, who appeared in Married at First Sight UK and donated her kidney as part of a donation sharing scheme so that her ex-partner, Shaun, could receive a transplant, said: “My two children need their dad as much as they need their mum which is why I donated to save Shaun’s life.

“It is important for me to be part of the Make Your Make campaign to raise awareness, because a lot of people don’t realise how easy and straight forward it is to donate. I was one of those people but now I’m not. I acted, donated, and have no regrets!”

Make Your Mark has been made possible thanks to businessman and philanthropist David Dangoor CBE, who has personal experience of living kidney donation, having previously donated to his brother Robert. Through the two charities, he has established the Robert Dangoor Partnership for Living Kidney Donation.

He said: “This new research shows that people clearly aspire to do something good during their lives and help others.

“Having donated a kidney to my brother, I know first-hand that it is perfectly possible to do this and to carry on living a normal life. I hope this partnership will have a profound impact on the number of people wanting to donate and help everyone gain a better understanding of the process involved.

“Enabling more transplants could help patients with kidney failure to come off of, or avoid, difficult dialysis treatment.” A new short film featuring Marilyse and other living kidney donors highlights the difference that living donation can make for transplant recipients, alongside showcasing some of the motivations and experiences of people who have already made the decision to donate.

Worldwide, kidney diseases are the tenth most common cause of death and the number of people developing kidney disease in the UK is growing rapidly, driven by risk factors including increased cases of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity, alongside social and economic inequalities. A report released by Kidney Research UK in 2023 warned that cases of kidney disease and kidney failure were growing so rapidly that the NHS could be overwhelmed in just ten years’ time.

The report also revealed that increasing the numbers of transplants from living donors would not only save lives but would also save the NHS money compared to expensive and life-limiting dialysis treatment. To find out more about becoming a living kidney donor please visit