Tracey Thompson, 43, from Walsden has celebrated with her mum every year, for five years to mark the occasion of becoming a live donor through a Living Donor Kidney Sharing Scheme and her mum receiving the precious gift of life. Tracey shares their story with the National Kidney Federation.

“It is the fifth year of donating via the Living Donor Kidney Sharing Scheme to my mum. I donated my kidney in 2018 and we were a part of a six-person chain with 3 people donating and 3 receiving a new lease of life.

My mum Sue found out in 1982 that one of her kidneys was not working correctly and that her kidney function was declining over time.

Fast forward to 2014, my mum found out that eventually she would need a kidney transplant.

In 2017 my mum delivered the news to me and my sister that she needs to be on the transplant list. During this point in time, I knew nothing about living donation but I knew that I wanted to donate.

We started the entire process of me donating to my mum in December 2017 and were looked after through the entire process at the Sheffield Northern General Renal Centre.

The Living Donor Kidney Sharing Scheme was fully explained to us during our first initial assessment with the living donor team and I was amazed that it was even an option.

The scheme was a good alternative if nobody was a direct match to my mum. It didn’t bother me going through this scheme as the main thing for me and the rest of the family was that my mum got the kidney she needed.

After the process of my mum getting a new kidney, she felt amazing. After the operation, it was like she could dance and she immediately looked a better colour.

For me though, I felt horrible, I had been warned that whilst my mum would feel better instantly, I would probably feel the complete opposite.

I had low blood pressure and was closely monitored on the first evening after. I was quite sore from the operation for a while, and the tiredness was more than I could ever imagined. I did have an infection in my main scar after a few weeks, but I soon felt better after the drugs cleared the infection up.

If you are considering becoming a live donor, don’t take the decision lightly, but talk to people who have been through it and no question is a daft one. Listen to the transplant team, they know what they are doing. And don’t get nervous of the assessment process they are not there to catch you out.

Now my 68-year-old mum is loving life and is so much better. Speaking for myself, I am fine. In fact, I can’t tell a difference apart from a nice scar which I feel something to be proud of!

I get annual checks up with the renal unit in Sheffield and I know they are still there if I need support.

We are also familiar with the work the National Kidney Federation do to provide patients and families with support. We regularly read the NKF’s In Touch e-newsletter and often get things from their online shop. It is good to know there are other avenues of support around the corner for me and my mum.

My advice to others that may be going through a similar journey to my me and my mum is, just do it, donate if you can, the difference it has made to my mum is incredible, she now has her life back and has more energy to do things.”