The 200th renal patient at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill has successfully received a kidney transplant – transforming her life.
Rebecca Stracey (17) from Largs suffered from MPGN type 1 and chronic kidney failure. The illness meant that Rebecca had to start dialysis treatment in 2013 three times a week.
Rebecca said: “My illness affected my life greatly. I couldn't attend school and get a proper education like everyone else because I was constantly tired. I could sleep for 16 hours a day and when I woke up I would still be tired with no energy to do anything. I couldn’t concentrate in class and would sometimes even fall asleep.
“I felt resentful towards my illness because I couldn't lead a normal life. I couldn't do what everyone else could do like get a job or go to school. But the staff at the RHSC at Yorkhill made it a lot easier for me to deal with.”
Fortunately, Rebecca’s mum Penny was found to be a tissue and blood match for Rebecca and following tests was found to be healthy enough to be able to donate one of her healthy kidneys to Rebecca.
Mum Penny Stracey (42) commented: “When Rebecca was first diagnosed I was devastated and extremely worried for her. Both myself and my husband underwent a cross match to see if we were suitable to donate a kidney to Rebecca.
“Thankfully both of us were compatible and originally my husband was meant to donate first, which would leave me a back up for the future as Beccah will probably need more than one transplant in her lifetime.
“But just before the end of my husband’s test the hospital found out he had a heart condition which showed up on an MRI scan which meant he was too high a risk to donate his kidney.
“This was devastating news as we had prepared ourselves for the transplant. But staff at the RHSC at Yorkhill and The Western Infirmary rushed my test through and we had it confirmed that I could donate my kidney.
“I was apprehensive about the operation itself but as a mother I had no hesitation in agreeing. Both Loraine Lawson, Transplant Co-ordinator at the Western infirmary and Diane King, Transplant Co-ordinator at the RHSC at Yorkhill have been a tremendous support to our family.”
Following the transplant in January 2014, Rebecca returns to the hospital for check-ups at the renal clinic to ensure she remains in tip-top condition.
The first renal transplant was performed at the RHSC in March 1977 and since then the unit has treated 200 patients who have undergone a renal transplant. The youngest patient to receive a transplant at the unit was just three and a half months-old and the oldest patient was 19.
The paediatric renal unit is currently looking after 42 patients with renal transplants from all over Scotland and performs between six and ten transplants each year. All renal transplants in patients who are aged under 16 in Scotland are performed at the RHSC at Yorkhill. The unit is also able to carry out some transplants in young people aged 16 to 19.
At a visit to the clinic on Thursday 13 March, Rebecca was also happy to help the unit celebrate World Kidney Day.
World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.
Thankfully Rebecca was able to receive a kidney donation from a family member, however, in some cases family members are not always suitable for donation.
Dr David Hughes is keen to highlight the importance of signing up to the organ donation register. He said: “Only about 40 per cent of the population has signed up to the organ donation register. With people dying each week through a lack of transplantable organs it is so important for people to consider joining the register.
“Thankfully Rebecca was able to receive a kidney from her mum by taking part in a ‘live organ donation’. As people have two kidneys then it is possible for an individual to offer to donate one of their kidneys and still go on to live a healthy life.”
Penny added: “I sat and watched my daughter on dialysis for nearly a year and witnessed the affect kidney failure had on her. I would appeal to everyone to carry an organ donor card because the difference a new organ can make to someone’s life is nothing short of a miracle. God forbid our lifes are cut short but why let these precious organs go to waste?
“I went back to work this week and I’m still not lifting anything too heavy but I don’t feel any different having one kidney rather than two. Since the transplant I now have my cheeky, full of life daughter back.”
Rebecca added: “I’m feeling fantastic and am fully recovered now - the difference in how I feel is unreal. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. My appetite has improved massively and I am no longer tired anymore, I can get up early in the morning and lead a normal life with no dialysis. I’m so thankful to my mum for doing such a brave and amazing thing for me, I will be forever thanking her.”
Notes to editors
World Kidney Day (WKD) is an annual global awareness and education event. The event provides the perfect opportunity for the renal community to share the WKD message with colleagues, policy makers, friends, family and people you meet. It is a chance to raise awareness of the importance to life of your kidneys and the risk factors for kidney disease, and for patients, how you can look after yourself - you might just save a life!
This year the UK initiative is being led by the Kidney Charities Core Group comprising five leading kidney charities - The National Kidney Federation (NKF), Kidney Research UK, the BKPA, Kids Kidney Research and the PKD Charity.
We have adopted a slightly more general theme for the UK this year which is: Kidney health matters - help reduce the risk to your kidneys
Further details will be available soon through the UK website: www.worldkidneyday.co.uk where you will find support, advice and ideas for activities and downloadable resources.
For further information in the meantime, please email: [email protected] or check out the Facebook page by searching for World Kidney Day UK. If you use Twitter, follow @kidneydayUK and use #worldkidneyday and #reducekidneyrisk
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]
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