From one major operation to another: how unforeseen challenges can lead to positive, life changing solutions

Wed, 2015-06-24
Phil Gay writes: While business rolls in, and on for Cre8 Joinery Solutions, if I’ve been a little quiet personally of late (though now back in the saddle and roaring to go) you’ll be intrigued to know the reason. 
 
The Best Treatment
 
As some of you may know, my teenage daughter Charlotte has been unwell for quite some time, suffering from kidney failure. Don’t worry, and don’t stop reading now… this story has a happy, life-affirming ending, which is a large part of why I’m sharing it with you.
 
For a long while now, the best treatment we could give Charlotte was hooking her up to a dialysis machine four days a week, while she waited patiently for a compatible replacement kidney.
 
   Here we are at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with Charlotte's many get well cards.   
 
Above: Here we are at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with Charlotte's many get well cards.
 
While that was no fun at all, we also had to be careful with her diet – with her illness also meaning that she was prevented from taking part in the sports, sleepovers and other social activities that fellow teenagers take for granted. As a keen footy fan along with the rest of the family, you can imagine how much that hurt!
 
Waiting Was The Worst
 
And the waiting… aside from the unpleasantness of the treatment itself, the waiting was the worst; it felt like our lives were ‘on hold’, which wasn’t nice for anybody. Our hearts have been broken the past four years seeing our beautiful daughter fight this terrible condition. So, when we were given the possibility of taking control of the process ourselves, we grasped it with both hands.
 
How Charlotte's amazing story was reported in the Evening Standard.

Left: How Charlotte's amazing story was reported in the Evening Standard.

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London was suggesting a method whereby I’d be able to donate one of my kidneys – previously deemed medically ‘incompatible’, because of my different blood group – to help Charlotte. This involved a process of ‘washing’ my daughter’s blood, in order to remove anti bodies and prevent it rejecting the organ; a procedure that is extremely rare. However, with a good outcome and a high chance of success predicted by the surgeon at Great Ormond Street, we decided to go ahead with the transplant. 
 

Here Charlotte and I are back home, Charlotte a picture of health and with me, proudly wearing my Living Donor Pin.

Instead of being on dialysis four days a week, Charlotte is back at school. She now gets much more time to spend with her friends and doing the things she loves. I’ve felt very privileged and very proud to be able to donate my kidney to help my daughter. The transplant’s been a brilliant success and it’s great to see Charlotte and the whole family living a normal life again. She has even been picked to be head girl at her school next year. 
 

Right: Here Charlotte and I are back home, Charlotte a picture of health and with me, proudly wearing my Living Donor Pin.

 
Naturally I want to give massive thanks to the transplant team, via whom we’ve benefitted from first class care and expertise. I also want to thank the team at Cre8 Joinery Solutions for holding the fort and running the shop while I’ve been tending to my daughter and under the weather myself, recovering from the operation. I hope our story helps to show the importance of organ donation – Charlotte and I are now campaigning to get more people to sign up – and how, when unforeseen challenges arise, thinking around the problem can lead to positive, life changing solutions.
 
Please make a difference to many lives and join the donor register: