“When I was born 54 years ago, women weren’t given scans etc. I was really poorly as a baby with bronchiolitis and had to be kept in a steam filled room with adults taking it in turns to keep me upright and having injections to keep my airways open. Nobody really questioned why I was bringing my legs up in agony and constipation was blamed.

A few years later, I left school and it was discovered I had one kidney with reflux in it after I kept fainting and waking up in flower beds!

It turned out that my blood pressure was through the roof with a highest recording of 210/180. With medication and monitoring, I was able to live life normally and have my two daughters, again with close medical monitoring.

In my early 30’s I started to become really unwell and life was getting more difficult. My first marriage ended and we lost our home and my two daughters and I moved into a flat together. By this time, I could barely stay awake more than a couple of hours at a time and I was having constant pain where the reflux would bring me to my knees in agony.

My parents and siblings stepped in to nurse me and helped bring up the girl,s though they had to grow up quickly because I would dip so quickly. My dad was trying to give me a kidney and passed all the tests but I didn't really want to take a kidney from him. However, he got a virus in his heart at the last hurdle.

One day I was in the hospital waiting room with my mum and the consultant heard me coughing and said I had to start dialysis as soon as possible (he later told me he thought he may not see me again as I was so poorly). I had a PD catheter fitted and started peritoneal dialysis which was pretty ok and I could do it wherever I was. The girls were really good at helping me set it up. It was high on their list of looking after me the jobs that they liked doing.

I got the call for a kidney in August 2004 at 8am. The lady said 'We have a kidney for you, can you get to Bristol ASAP' I had to sort childcare and then my mum and dad drove me to Bristol where I had lots of bloods taken and underwent a dialysis session. I was wheeled off to surgery about 7.30pm I think and I went back to the ward in the early hours.

I had an infection in the first few days and had to undergo a biopsy as they were concerned the kidney could have rejected. I went home after 2 weeks and it was tough for the first couple of years as I struggled to urinate and kept getting infections. They thought my native kidney could be causing the problem so I had to have it taken out. When the surgeon tried to remove it, it was a ball of pus and just disintegrated in his hand. After this, my kidney function settled down with regular antibiotics.

I have had a lot of musculoskeletal problems which I've been told can be aggravated by steroids. 

I met Terry in 2007 and he moved from Lincoln to be with me and has been a big support to me though he doesn't always understand it. 

I am lucky to have seen my daughters grow into beautiful women and now I'm the nanny to the most beautiful little boy ever who was born in August 2019. Jack will be 3 years old the same week my transplant turns 18 years old and I would go through everything again twice over just to see his smiling face.

I am forever grateful for every extra day I have been given and a day does not go past when I do not think of my donor and their family, without a family saying yes to donation despite their grief I'd probably not be here today.”