'Help someone have a life free of worry and stress'

PUBLISHED: 16:00 01 June 2013

Jo Shipley and Jude Skilton outside the Richard Bright Renal Unit.

Jo Shipley and Jude Skilton outside the Richard Bright Renal Unit.

Archant

"IT'S the biggest achievement of my life and it's the best thing I have ever done. Every time I look at my sister I feel that."

These words from Weston woman Jude Skilton were shared with the Mercury just weeks after a successful kidney transplant to give a new lease of life to her younger sister Jo.

Now the duo are launching an appeal to get others to sign onto the donor list to ‘help someone have a life free of worry and stress’.

Almost a year after learning that Jo Shipley would need a kidney transplant to survive, she and her sister have emerged from hospital, laughing and joking at the fact that Jude’s ‘spare one’ finally made it to her.

The pair’s hopes for the transplant were initially dashed last August when doctors said Jude, aged 35, was not a suitable match.

But soon after her popular blog - Big Boss Trousers and the Quest for a Kidney – sparked an internet frenzy and months of rigorous testing, Jude received news that she could save her sister’s life.

Last month the sisters entered Southmead Hospital in Bristol for surgery, before spending a week recovering side by side.

Jude, of Sunnyside Road, said: “It was very frightening. I was thinking this has to work because this is her only chance.

“Lying next to each other recovering was amazing. It was the best thing, even though it was painful and we missed our families.

“Every day she was getting more and more animated. The first day she had sparkle back in her eyes. I’m still amazed by her.”

Jude said this new look for her sibling was quite a shock, as 32-year-old mum of two Jo had become accustomed to the three-times-a-week sessions of dialysis, which left her exhausted and unable to imagine a life without it.

This treatment was vital after doctors told Jo her one kidney – which she had survived with since she was eight days old when a tumour was found in the other - functioned at only eight per cent.

But now Jo said her own family is finding it difficult to keep up with her.

She said: “I’m already planning to get fit and go out on bike rides. It’s really changed my life and it’s amazing.

“I would not be in this position if it wasn’t for Jude.

“When the doctors initially said no she could have sat back and accepted that. But Jude being Jude, she got an idea in her head and it wasn’t going to go away.

“I can’t ever thank her enough. I do not know where I would be without her.”

After finally coming to the end of a very long road, Jude and Jo want to help highlight the importance of live donors.

Jude said: “You’re doing something for someone that is going to save their life. It’s priceless. Every bit of pain is worth it and the pain is short-lived.

“Why not donate in your life-time so that when you go to bed at night you know you’ve made a difference?

“If not give blood or bone marrow - there are so many things you can do to help others.

“If I could I would do it again. If I had three wishes I would wish for unlimited kidneys, unlimited wishes and longer legs.

“We also want to give thanks for all the support we have had. It’s been so nice to see the good in people.”

Former Broadoak student Jo said a number of their friends have now signed onto the list, and also offered her own message to those who are waiting for a transplant: “I would say to not give up hope, there is always hope out there for you, even in your darkest hour.

“We have gone through so many emotions and we finally got there.”

To read Jude’s blog and to find out more about becoming a donor visit joskidneyquest.blogspot.co.uk

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