A Hassocks woman is campaigning for more awareness about organ donation after a dramatic year which resulted in her donating a kidney to her son to save his life.
Allison Morris says she and her son Matt are recovering at home.
“Matt is staying with his dad but is only a 45 minute journey from me and we met up earlier this week for the first time since leaving hospital.
“The change in my son is nothing short of miraculous. His kidney function has already risen to over 70 per cent and his blood pressure is back to normal.
“He no longer feels cold or tired, has put on weight, and his medical team are extremely pleased with his progress.
“Best of all for him he can now eat chocolate, McDonald’s and basically anything he wants!
“He had lost so much weight and become so skinny pre-transplant that I was desperately worried about him, so this news cheered me in my recovery no end.”
The problem started in April 2018 when Matt, then 22, had been offered a job with the police and was about to graduate at the University of Birmingham with a degree in politics.
All that remained was a medical which everyone assumed he would pass with flying colours.
However, urine tests showed traces of blood had been detected microscopically.
Matt’s GP raised the possibility of a potential issue with his kidneys and he was referred to a Nephrologist.
Allison takes up the story: “His GP checked back through his medical history and noticed that he had been diagnosed with a rare blood condition called Henloch Schoenlein Purpura (HSP) at the age of 3, but no follow-ups to this illness were ever carried out and his GP at that time had not mentioned anything to me about damage to kidneys or any long-term effect from HSP.
“Matt saw a Nephrologist in Birmingham who suspected he might have a chronic kidney disease called IgA Nephropathy or Bergers Disease, and explained to him that this was incurable and would likely lead to full Renal failure and require dialysis and a transplant in years to come.”
Divorcee Allison was due to get married to her fiance Gavin, and three weeks before her wedding in May 2018, Matt underwent biopsy at QE Hospital in Birmingham and the diagnosis of IgA Nephropathy was confirmed.
After news that his situation was deteriorating and he needed a transplant in the near future Allison underwent various tests, which eventually confirmed she could be a donor.
On January 24 the operation took place.
However, as Allison says: “Matt is not out of the woods yet. No kidney transplant recipient ever is. A transplant is not a cure for kidney disease.
“What we sincerely hope it will do however, is give Matt a good 20-25 years of a normal life so he can pursue his dreams both personally and professionally. He will need to take anti-rejection medication for the remainder of his life, and hope his body does not reject my kidney.
“Unfortunately it is likely Matt will need further transplants in his lifetime, which is why it is so important to carry on the excellent pioneering work of research into kidney disease, so we can hope that in years to come kidneys can be ‘manufactured’ and patients will not need to rely on donor organs, which are still very much in short supply.
“If the last eight months have taught us anything, it is that shocking life events can creep up on you when you least expect it, and can knock your world for six.
“It’s so important therefore to appreciate what you have and never underestimate the power of love and support to get you through.
“The love of my husband, my children, our close family and special friends, as well as the support of mine and Gavin’s work colleagues and the amazing and incredible NHS staff at Oxford Churchill Hospital have been invaluable. “