Back in 2008 my sister, Alison was diagnosed with Lupus. She spent the next few years managing the condition with bouts of time in hospital. During a routine appointment in 2012 it was found that her kidneys were failing and working at only two per cent.
Overnight, Alison became very sick and on dialysis on eight hours every day. During this time the impact on her family with her two children, plus working with adults with learning difficulties meant she was not able to attend and took a lot of time off sick.
Alison was placed on the transplant list in January 2013, the whole family and friends were eager to donate. However, my other sisters and I were tested straight way and I was the strongest match. After lots of tests to make sure my kidney and I were physically and mentally ready to donate, it turned out that one of my kidneys had a tiny stone. Doctors decided to give this one to her, but the kidney would have its own surgeon who would remove the stone once it was removed from me before it went to Alison. Amazing!
The transplant team were fantastic. Explaining to Alison myself and what to expect and how we would react to the donation. While in hospital we would be in single rooms next to each other, and we wondered what our recovery would be like.
In July 2013 we went ahead with the donation at Oxford Churchills Hospital.
The transplant was a success. While I was weak in hospital, and at home recovering, (plus enjoying being waited on), Alison was up and about, ready to get out of the house. And I received phone calls from my mum asking me to tell her to get back in bed, relax and rest!
Alison felt she had spent too long in bed and was ready to get back to her life as an active mum, sister, work colleague, tutor and just enjoy life.
It was just a positive, life affirming experience that I have never regretted.