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Newcastle facilities manager one of first men to donate blood, stem cells and living organ

A Newcastle facilities manager who has been dubbed ‘one of UK’s most generous people’, is believed to be the first person in the North East to donate blood, stem cells and a kidney.

Azeem Ahmad, who works for Newcastle-based estate and letting agents, Walton Robinson, started his charitable journey when he was a teenager. Since then, through his donations, he has helped to save more than 30 lives.

Azeem has also supported Newcastle United Foundation in launching its ‘Be a Game Changer’ campaign which promotes awareness of men’s mental health issues. Azeem is also a member of Newcastle United’s independent advisory group on inclusion.

Azeem said: “I have been involved in charity work and volunteering since I was a teenager; it’s a great way to help others, as well as learning and developing new skills.
“My kidney donation was in September 2019, so I’ve decided to give my body a full year to recover before I start to donate blood again. To anyone considering blood donation, I’d strongly encourage you to just give it a go, it’s a surprisingly pleasant experience!”

In May 2020 a new law, Max and Keira’s Law, came into effect in the UK whereby consent to donate organs once a person had passed away was automatically presumed unless the person had opted-out.

Azeem continued: “Living organ donation isn’t for everyone, but with the change in the law last month and the deceased donor register becoming opt-out, it’s really important for people to have the conversations with their families about what their wishes are.

“My cat, Lilly, was great company for me during my recovery following my kidney donation, but she did struggle to understand why she wasn’t allowed to sleep on my stomach for a few weeks! Deep down, as long as she gets fed, I’m sure she doesn’t really care.

“My colleagues at Walton Robinson have been very supportive too. I started my current position with them a few weeks after my surgery and I’m grateful for how flexible they were with me while I recovered.”

Mark Walton, managing director at Walton Robinson, said: “Azeem is an asset to our firm and we’re all incredibly humbled by the fantastic charity work he undertakes. To be the only person in the world to have donated so much is a huge achievement and it speaks volumes about Azeem’s personality.

“He really is one of the UK’s most generous people!”