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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-02-03

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

Local News Report  - Mobile Page


Local charity worker donates kidney to her best friend

WITH Christmas a distant memory, you could be forgiven for thinking the season for giving has been long forgotten for another year. But not so in the North West, as a charity Merseyside fundraiser has give the most precious gift of all to her friend, her kidney!  Andy Clewes, 46, is a radio DJ with Macclesfield Station Silk 106.9, he's suffered with chronic kidney disease since birth, but it's was only in the last few years that the illness started to have a devastating impact on Andy's life. Andy and Helen met in 2006, when Andy's radio station ran:- 'Bring A ? To Work Day.' a charity fundraising event. Helen, who is a fundraiser for local children's charity, the Children's Adventure Farm Trust and took part on behalf of the charity. Ever since they have remained close friends.  Helen Crowther, 46, was Best (wo)Man at Andy's wedding to Christine in October 2016 and the friends, who were born exactly a week apart, describe themselves as "2 peas in a pod." It became apparent in 2015 that Andy's kidney disease had progressed to the stage where a transplant would be needed and Helen didn't hesitate to step forward. The 1st step was a simple blood test to ascertain whether they were a match, a nerve wracking wait which was thankfully rewarded with a very positive "yes." Andy and Helen, despite not being related, were a close match and a long year of tests began. Helen, who is a Runcorn resident, originally from Stockbridge Village, before the operation said:- "It's been a long process determining whether my kidney was healthy enough to give to Andy, but it's all finally going ahead! I can't deny that the prospect of having such a big operation scares me, but all I can think about is getting Andy well. For me, it's just a couple of months out of my life when I'll feel a bit tired and sore, but for Andy it will be a whole new life. It'll be so lovely to see him healthy and happy, without the worry of his worsening condition getting him down."

The pair are now hoping to use their experience to encourage others to sign up to the Organ Donor Register. Andy, 46, from Crewe, also before the operation said:- "I've lived with chronic kidney disease for a long time now, but I feel lucky and grateful to be able to have this transplant. It means I can get my life back and I'm very much looking forward to a future when I will be well. I'd like to appeal to everyone to sign up to the Organ Donor Register, or even to consider being a living donor, as you really will be changing lives. I've been lucky to have a friend who is willing and able to help, but others aren't so fortunate and rely on the kindness of strangers."

Andy and Helen have undergone operations at separate Hospitals, in separate Cities; a common occurrence for transplant teams throughout the UK as organs are donated from all four corners of the country. Helen's operation took place at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, on the morning of the 24 January 2017, when her kidney was removed then carefully transported to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where Andy received the kidney later that same day. The Royal Liverpool University Hospital is a regional centre for kidney transplantation, treating patients from Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.  Mr Sanjay Mehra, consultant transplant surgeon at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, added:- "Across the UK, 1 in 10 people in need of a transplant die, waiting for a donor. It's vital that we get more people signed up to the Organ Donation Register, as we know that 1 donor could potentially change the lives of up to 8 people. You can join the register online or by calling:- 0300 123 2323. The short term and long term outcomes from a living donor transplant are excellent, however for a small minority of patients there may not be the expected result. Following his operation we would like to wish Andy the best outcome from his transplant."


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