‘I owe her for giving me my life back’ – Weston-super-Mare woman donates kidney to daughter

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 February 2017

Charlene with mum Nicola and seven-year-old Harlow.

Charlene with mum Nicola and seven-year-old Harlow.

Archant

A Weston woman has been set free from a ‘life of pain’ thanks to her mum, who potentially saved her life by giving her one of her kidneys.

Charlene Green, aged 35, was born with just one kidney but only found out four years ago after suddenly falling ill.

The kidney she did have was not functioning properly and it became clear she needed a transplant or dialysis – which is a procedure which removes waste from the blood – within six months.

However, it was not until last year the prospect of a transplant was explored as doctors wanted to keep her kidney working for as long as possible.

Charlene’s mum Nicola Slade, aged 53, went on to donate her organ to her daughter and the family are now encouraging others to do the same.

Charlene said: “I did not know whether I would get a donor and they try to keep your own kidney functioning for as long as possible. My mum and dad had the test to be donors and I was really lucky as they were both a match.

“But my dad had health complications and could not donate.”

To be donated, the organ must have at least 80 per cent function – but Nicola’s kidney was only working at 79 per cent. With this borderline result Charlene was then put on the deceased donor list, where the patient must wait for a healthy enough kidney from someone who has died.

Charlene remained on this list for more than a year, with the average wait for a donor around three years.

She said: “I just decided to take one day at a time because there was no other way I could deal with it.

“I felt lethargic and I had to take a nap every single day. It became normal but now I look back, it just wasn’t living.

“My ankles swelled up and I had black under my eyes. It was getting worse and worse and my consultant gave me the option to go with mum anyway even though it was not my best chance. I have a seven-year-old son so it was a no-brainer for me.”

Nicola says it was heartbreaking to watch her daughter suffer and she was scared about being a donor.

She said: “All I kept thinking is what if I do it and for some reason it does not work or something goes wrong, which is always a risk.”

The two are now hoping by sharing their story more people will become aware of living organ donation as Charlene continues to recover, despite regular hospital visits and check ups.

Nicola added: “It has changed our lives and if Char could not have had my kidney, then I would have given it to a stranger.

“I don’t see why you wouldn’t donate but then if you haven’t been through it like we have, then you wouldn’t necessarily think about it.”

To find out more about living organ donation, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk/living-donation

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