Birthday Honours: David Myers rewarded for decades of advocacy at the Royal Free

David Myers - recipient of the BEM in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his work as a patient advocate at the Royal Free

David Myers - recipient of the BEM in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his work as a patient advocate at the Royal Free - Credit: Royal Free/David Myers

A former Royal Free Hospital governor has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s 2021 Birthday Honours List for services to renal patients. 

David Myers, 74, after experiencing his own kidney disease, around 20 years of dialysis and two kidney transplants, has devoted himself to the care and welfare of those who are suffering as he had.

He is now life president of the Royal Free Hospital Kidney Patients Association and chair of the Royal Free Organ Donation Committee 

He said: “I’m extremely grateful for the recognition.” 

He lived on dialysis for eight years before receiving his first kidney transplant 1998, which forced him into an early retirement at the age of 49. 


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“I was dialysing five to five-and-a-half hours, three times a week, for eight years,” David added.

“After year one I ended up with a dialysis machine at home. My wife helped me and we learned how to work the dialysis machine, but it really wasn’t fun.” 

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Following his first transplant, David became involved in patient advocacy at the hospital. 

“I felt like I needed to show my gratitude because if it wasn’t for the fantastic care from the Royal Free and NHS, I don’t think I’d be alive.” 

He was told that his first kidney wouldn’t last more than a year, but it only began to weaken after thirteen years, at which point his wife Martha offered her kidney to him.   

“In the 18 years before my second transplant I never felt great, the kidney didn’t work well. What kept me going was the adrenaline buzz I got from trying to help people and get patients’ concerns recognised.” 

David Myers BEM - who has been honoured for services to kidney patients at the Royal Free

David Myers BEM - who has been honoured for services to kidney patients at the Royal Free - Credit: David Myers/Royal Free

In 2017 he received his second transplant from a known donor. 

He added: “I’m really grateful to all the people that have helped me. I’ve made a lot of friends with people I dealt with at the Royal Free.” 

Kate Slemeck, chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital, said: “We would like to be the first to congratulate David on his well-deserved award.

"David’s tireless work to promote organ donation, across all our communities, is outstanding.  He is also a passionate patient advocate and is someone we are very proud to call a friend of the Trust.”

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