40 years after life-saving transplant, Harpenden kidney patient wants to raise awareness
- Credit: Archant
A kidney patient who has enjoyed almost 40 years of life thanks to a donation from her mum in the 1970s is supporting a campaign highlighting the numbers of people currently awaiting a transplant.
Former Harpenden resident Diane Gough, 52, featured in the Herts Ad when she was 13 after receiving a kidney transplant from her mum when she was just 13.
She has now had the organ even longer than her mother, who is now 78 but donated it when she was in her 30s, an exceptionally long period of time for a transplanted kidney to survive.
Diane was one of the lucky ones. There are currently 88 people currently waiting for a kidney transplant in Herts, and every single day in the UK one person will die while waiting for their kidney, statistics campaign group Kidney Care UK urgently wants to change.
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Diane, who works in care, said: “I went into St Albans City Hospital when I was six. I was with them for quite a while.
“In 1977 I was in a coma for about nine months. When I came out of the coma they set about having a transplant.
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“In 1978 I had fistulas fitted and went into dialysis. I as very ill so although I was on the transplant list having a donor that had passed away wasn’t really an option because I was still being very ill.
“My parents volunteered and they chose my mum, and I had my transplant in April 1978.”
The story was featured in the Herts Ad both before and after Diane had the transplant.
She said: “I was in The Mirror and a few other national newspapers.
“Most of the other patients are not here anymore because they didn’t survive. It’s unusual for us to have such a long period of time on one kidney.
“I’ve been lucky enough to maintain my health. My transplant kidney’s 78 years old. I’ve now had the kidney longer than my mum has.”
Diane, who has a 22-year-old son at university, used to live above Johnson’s Shop in Luton Road, Harpenden, where her dad worked as a builder. She has since moved to Clacton on Sea in Essex.
She said: “Two years ago I had to have a jaw operation and a young man was having a tube fitted for dialysis. I asked him what his tube was for and I told him I’d had my kidney for nearly 40 years, and he said he didn’t know anybody that’s managed to survive that long.”
Fiona Loud, policy director of Kidney Care UK, wants more people to be aware of the impact of kidney disease.
“Most people don’t want to think about their kidneys, but the reality is that one in eight people will develop chronic kidney disease which can affect their general health and may ultimately mean they might need dialysis or a transplant in order to stay alive.
“The average time waiting for a kidney on the transplant list is three years and there are almost 30,000 people on dialysis in the UK, a treatment that leaves patients hooked up to machines for hours at a time for several days every week, which has a knock-on impact on their ability to study, work, socialise and ultimately live their lives to the full.
“Kidney patients constantly tell us that greater awareness of kidney disease and the impact it can have on their lives would be life-changing for them, which is why we’re calling on your readers to become kidney aware by visiting www.kidneycareuk.org. We are here to ensure that no-one in Hertfordshire has to face kidney disease alone.”