In May 2011 my partner and I welcomed our little girl into the world. To our devastation, at 30 weeks gestation, she was diagnosed with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease, a rare genetic condition which destroys the kidneys and lungs.
Our little girl was born six weeks premature and was very unwell. When she came into the world there was no sound, we saw her for less than 30 seconds before she was rushed away to the neonatal intensive-care unit on life support where she spent the first three months of her life. During this time she had her kidneys removed and a peritoneal dialysis catheter placed in her abdomen. On several occasions we were told she would not survive.
Over the next six months, she underwent several surgeries, infections and hearing loss. Up until a few months ago she was hooked up to dialysis for 13 hours every night. This was her life support.
Our beautiful girl has now received the gift of life, a brand new kidney. I donated my left kidney in the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange and in return my daughter received a kidney from an amazing stranger. Being in a different hospital to my daughter and not being able to be by her side was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
Although the kidney exchange is anonymous, I truly hope the individual who received my kidney is doing as well as our little girl is. She is now a completely different child with a huge amount of energy and a desire to learn.
After reading my story, I hope you are inspired by my amazing little girl and have the chat that saves lives.