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Gail and Paul's story

By Gail

Our story begins when Paul was nearly 19 years old. He was a big strapping fellow, just starting out in life.

He and his cousin travelled to Stuarts Point to visit their grandfather and to look for work. I received a phone call from Paul who said he couldn't see properly and his vision was blurry.

A few days later he had an eye test which showed something behind his eye. He was sent immediately to an eye specialist who confirmed what the optometrist had seen. His blood pressure reading was 190/140 which triggered alarm bells.

Paul's next step was an urgent trip to emergency. There he had various tests until he was diagnosed with kidney failure. We were all totally shocked and bewildered.

Doctors predicted he would need a kidney transplant within 18 months but, luckily, he managed eleven years. He then had to start dialysis five hours a day, three days a week. This took a terrible toll on his body. I was so devastated at this time because I couldn't help Paul.

Paul was placed on the transplant waiting list and every time the phone rang we were hopeful it meant a donated kidney. As five and then six years went by with no call, hope faded.

Paul was then told about ABO incompatible transplants (between different blood types) which had been carried out in Sweden for 25 years. Doctors here discussed the procedure with us. I didn't hesitate in agreeing to donate one of my kidneys. Paul was very ill at this stage and I wanted to give him the opportunity to have a normal life without being hooked up to machines.

Paul went to hospital three weeks before me for preparation. His antibodies had to be brought down so his body would not reject my kidney. Paul is O Positive and I am A Positive.

The operation was a complete success and now when I look back at it all seems like a dream. I prayed a lot and asked for a miracle to help my son.

It is four years since the operation and things are going well. Paul is now doing all the things that healthy people take for granted. He now has a life with his two beautiful children; Harrison (four) and Annabelle (three).

We were so lucky I could help Paul.

Gail