In a heartfelt story of love, Chetna Reay, reflects on a journey towards becoming a living kidney donor for her diabetic mother.

Below Chetna shares her story:

“My mum was diabetic for as long as I can remember. Probably in her 30’s. So, when she was rushed into hospital at the age of 60 the inevitable had happened.

Her kidneys were failing and she was placed on dialysis.

At that point I had no idea about living donation.

I had a donor card but people only did that after death right? I was wrong!

As my mum’s health deteriorated, I sat and watched not knowing there were options.

I had a conversation with my mum one day after seeing her renal specialist and she mentioned that he had asked her if any of her family members would be able to donate a kidney.

This was my first exposure to ‘Live Donors’.

She basically said she’d told him she could never take a kidney from one of her children.

Anyway, I persisted asking her if I could do it and each time, she declined my offer.

It was then I went to India to see my grandfather and family and realised that he was absolutely devastated knowing he would never see my mum (his daughter) again. The look of sadness on his face was enough for me to make her change her mind. I basically ground her down until she agreed.

The Renal Team at St James in Leeds were so helpful and informative and took us through all the pros and cons of our decisions.

After a whole suite of tests, we were informed that I was a viable match and that surgery could go ahead.

We went into St James Hospital on the 25th January 2007 and the surgery was performed on the afternoon of the 26th January.

After a grueling 5 hours to remove my kidney, the transplant was performed and it was successful.

The next few days were critical for my mum to ensure her body did not reject my kidney. It was all successful and we were discharged from hospital. 

The next year, my mum was able to travel to India to see her dad and as you can imagine that was the best gift ever.

I have had annual checks for my health, and my mum’s kidney is still in excellent condition. This January it was our 17th Kidneyversary and she will turn 80 years old this year. 

So, to anyone who has been thinking about living donation, I can say that it is the most beautiful gift you can give and it truly is a miracle.”