Sion Simon gives Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood the gift of life
A Labour politician from the West Midlands donated a kidney to save the life of one of his party's MPs, it has been revealed.
Sion Simon, who was Labour's candidate in this year's West Midlands mayoral election, gave his kidney to Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood in 2014.
In a joint interview where he spoke publicly for the first time about the astonishing act of kindness, Mr Mahmood said he was 'hugely indebted' to his party colleague.
"It meant being able to live a normal life, which was getting increasingly difficult," said Mr Mahmood, aged 56, who is Labour's shadow Europe minister.
"Essentially what Sion did for me, a huge sacrifice on his part, ended up allowing me to have a normal life again."
He added: "It was a simple act of kindness and I owe him a debt of gratitude.
"I was quite flabbergasted. The decision is a huge one, to give one of your body parts to someone close, and for someone to take that decision is quite phenomenal.
"It was a very emotional time. I didn't want to impose so when Sion offered, I was hesitant, shocked. But he insisted. I could never have asked."
West Midlands MEP Mr Simon said that deciding to become a 'living donor' had not been a 'terribly difficult decision'.
"He was in a very bad way, he needed a kidney," he said.
"I could see Khalid getting more and more sick. He started off being a bit sick, but with every month and year that passed he got more ill, and then he started to die.
"It's miraculous the difference it can make to the recipient and kind of miraculous the difference it doesn't make to the donor.
"It became obvious that he wasn't going to get one from anywhere else, so it was a relatively easy decision, and I would urge anyone else who has got the opportunity - it's actually not as a big a deal as you might think."
Mr Mahmood discovered he had chronic kidney failure in 2008 and had to spend four hours a day on dialysis.
The transplant was carried out in Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in January 2014.