Portland dad Barry Kenneally is hopeful a life-changing transplant operation could come sooner rather than later after two close calls.

Barry, 37, has been on the waiting list for a kidney and pancreas transplant for two-and-a-half years.

But last month he was called up to Churchill Hospital in Oxford twice as a reserve for transplant operations and has been told he is now at the top of the list.

Barry, husband to Nicola and father to seven-year-old Jessica and four-year-old Sam, even had to go up on Christmas Eve as a back-up, but – after the first choice patient’s operation went ahead – he arrived back home to his family at lunchtime on Christmas Day.

He said that, despite missing out on the operation, the two recent call-ups have given him hope that the procedure could become a reality in the near future.

Barry said: “I’m hoping it will be soon, fingers crossed – maybe in the next six weeks.

“I’ll just get a phone call in the middle of the night or something and have to go up there straight away.”

He added: “When you are put on the waiting list you sort of forget about it and then all of a sudden I got this phone call and I was in shock.

“It’s a light at the end of the tunnel and you actually feel a lot better about yourself.”

Barry said the trips to Oxford allowed him to meet patients who had been through transplant operations and see first hand how it had benefited them.

He said: “You wouldn’t have believed they had been in hospital if they didn’t have the pyjamas on.” Barry, who works in catering at Portland’s Verne Prison, was diagnosed with kidney failure seven years ago and has been told his kidneys are operating at less than 20 per cent of their capacity.

He says he cannot wait to start leading a normal life again after the procedure.

Barry said: “The biggest thing for me is to take my kids on holiday as we haven’t been able to get out of the country or go anywhere in case I get a phone call for the operation.”

He has recently taken up martial arts in a bid to improve his physical condition so he maximises his chances of recovering successfully from the operation.

Last year Barry supported the Dorset Echo’s Gift of Life Appeal, which encouraged more than 1,000 people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

He said: “You can never really have enough donors.

“I would like to thank all the people who supported the campaign and everyone involved.”

Gift of Life Appeal

The Dorset Echo’s Gift of Life Campaign was launched last year in a bid to encourage people to sign up to the NHS organ donor register.

The campaign was inspired by the story of Weymouth toddler Max Price, who suffered from chronic renal failure and whose mum, Michelle, stepped forward as a donor for a potentially life-changing operation.

By publishing the stories of patients waiting for transplants and the success stories of people who had benefited from successful transplant operations, the Echo aimed to inspire people to sign up to the register and increase the chances of people waiting for a procedure.

In four months a total of 1,032 people in the DT postcode area (Dorset excluding Bournemouth and Poole) signed up to the register.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) has relaunched its appeal for more donors across the country in the new year and people can sign up to the register online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.