Student donating his kidney to his mum could face Uni ban over fees


A STUDENT faces being kicked off his university course – because he wants to donate a kidney to his mother.

Daniel Autumn, 25, will donate his kidney to his ill mum after gruelling tests revealed that he is a perfect match.

But the psychology student will be forced to drop out of his course because he will not be able to afford the £1800 bill for tuition fees.

Daniel, pictured with his mum Carolyne Douglas 

The transplant could go ahead within months, after which Daniel will be out of work for 12 weeks.

He had planned to work during the summer to pay the bill but will now face a summer of recuperation instead.

According to the Heriot-Watt University student, education bosses have refused to allow him to defer payment or pay the sum off once he is healthy enough to return.

Despite pleading for help at the advice hub in the Edinburgh university, Daniel said he could have no other choice but to quit.

Ms Douglas, 44, who undergoes dialysis three times a week because of her condition, said: “It’s just a horrible situation. I want the transplant as soon as possible but I don’t want my son to give up his education.

“I think what he’s doing is amazing. At first I didn’t want to accept it, but he’s an intelligent young man.

“We’ve discussed it and decided it’s best for everyone, but it is horrible to think your son is going through a major operation and the dangers involved.”

The mother of four had worked at a food outlet before being forced to quit due to ill health.

Daniel had passed his first year of psychology in Newcastle before transferring to Heriot-Watt to care for his mother.

He failed his second year in Heriot-Watt University last year and is currently re-sitting his second year.

But in order for him to continue into third year, he must pay his re-sit fees of £1800 by August at the latest.

He said: “I failed my second year because I was caring for my mum at the time. Last year was particularly stressful because we did not know if we were going to find a donor.

Daniel will be off his feet for 12 weeks after the operation 

“I found it very difficult to concentrate when there was so much going on at home.

“My fees are meant to be paid by August but I have no way of paying them unless I work during the summer. The operation could be in May, which rules out any work for me for 12 weeks. My friends were going to line up a job for me, but it’s out of the question now.”

The aspiring clinical psychologist added that his mother’s kidneys started to fail five years ago.

“She just took ill all of a sudden and we still don’t know why. Her kidneys have failed and I am the oldest in the family so I knew I had to be the one to do it. My sister has the same blood type but she is scared of needles and operations, so I offered instead.”

Speaking about his relationship with his mum, Daniel added: “We have always been really close. She is my best friend and I had no second thoughts on the operation. At first I was scared but now that I know more about the procedure, my mind is more at ease. She is my mum, and that’s just what I have to do.”

The 25-year-old had offered the university a payment plan but it was rejected and he was told he has to pay by the middle of August.

He said: “I’ve been to quite a few places and explained the situation, but they’ve just said its university policy and there’s nothing they can do.

“It’s all just added to an already stressful situation.”

The student has set up a fundraising page on the internet in an attempt to raise money for his fees.

He said: “I was relived when I found out I was a match, but scared as well. They told me I could die, which is never a fun thing to hear, but I’ve never changed my mind or wavered.”

A spokeswoman from Heriot-Watt University said: “We are very sorry to hear about the problems that Daniel and his family are facing.

“Heriot-Watt offers a variety of student support services and had agreed payment options with Daniel before the recent change in his family’s circumstances.

“We would strongly recommend, as previously advised, that Daniel applies to the student hardship fund on the basis of his current circumstances. The university will work with him to see what steps can be taken to resolve his situation.”

Donations can be made to Daniel’s fundraising page.

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  1. I understand that there is a renal donor reimbursment scheme (NKF website) for loss of earnings and other accrued costs. If Daniel has definate offer of employ for the period whilst recuperating I wonder if he would qualify for such payment,ie lost earnings. I suggest he contact the renal social worker at the care centre his mother is attending to discuss this.

  2. Couldn’t he defer for a year and pay then? I’ve deferred a year due to ill health and as the Uni know about his situation, they’d be more likely to understand. It might also be helpful as he might not be able to focus too well while recuperating from the op. It’s sad that he’s in this situation but University’s have these things in place for a reason, they’re not exactly over-funded.

  3. How about the university doing the right thing and bending the rules for a psychology student, not much compassion demonstrated there and not s positive approach to providing not only academic support but emotional support for a student . I bet they don’t advertise these values when reiterating the excellent services the university provide for all it’s students both local and students living away from home. An absolutely disgraceful approach to education and supporting a young man trying to care for his mother and build a professional career for the future. This certainly one university I would not recommend to my children or anyone else

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