My mother was diagnosed with kidney disease when I was born. One kidney stopped functioning and for the next 35 years she suffered severe migraines, blood pressure issues and deteriorating health. She was an incredibly strong woman, continuing to go to work every day. Most people had no idea how ill she was.
She retired to look after her first grandchild and at this time her second kidney failed. Mum was on dialysis every two days with my two year old sitting by her side as she drew her own blood and connected herself to dialysis. Her blood pressure was so low it was frightening and often crashed in the middle of a session.
After being on dialysis for two years, the call came. As a family we were excited and scared of the big operation she was to have. We were so sad for the family who had lost a loved one, but terrified we would lose her.
She came through the operation and was healthier than I had ever seen her. She remained so for the next 10 years.
Mum was able to see the birth of her second grandchild and celebrate her 48th wedding anniversary with my dad - who adored her. She was taken from us six years ago with lung cancer, but to the end her kidney worked well.
We are forever eternally grateful to the donor family for giving us more time with this wonderful woman.