A Fife woman who successfully donated her kidney to stranger in need of a transplant has spearheaded a new drive to raise awareness of living kidney donation.
The actions of Susan Greig (44) from Leven in Fife, resulted in six year old Megan Stone’s kidney transplant going ahead in July 2015.
The grandmother of Megan, from Pershore in Worcestershire, has spoken of the exceptional gift received by Megan and gave thanks to her donor Susan for transforming her life.
Since the transplant Megan, now seven, has been able to go to school, learn to ride her bike, and has become a competent swimmer – something she hopes to showcase when she competes in the Westfield Health 2017 Transplant Games in North Lanarkshire in July.
A healthy person can lead a completely normal life with only one working kidney, and over the last ten years 500 people in Scotland have become living kidney donors. Around 100 people donated in 2015/16 alone.
Currently there are over 400 people waiting on a kidney transplant in Scotland, and a successful kidney transplant for a living donor is the best treatment option for people with end-stage kidney disease.
Megan was diagnosed with acute kidney failure in 2011, caused by Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) after suddenly contracting a serious strain of the E Coli virus. Her first kidney transplant went ahead in 2014, but due to complications, the transplanted organ ceased functioning just 24 hours after surgery.
Megan was put on the transplant waiting list in March 2015 undergoing regular haemodialysis treatment to keep her alive. Four months later, the news came that a perfect match had been found for the child – from a living kidney donor.
Susan Greig had decided to investigate the possibility of becoming a living kidney donor in 2014. She said: “I lost my mum when I was a baby and grew up wishing someone could have helped her, so I saw this as a way of giving that chance to someone else.
“I suppose in life people give back in lots of different ways. This for me ticked the boxes in terms of something I could do.
“I found out before the surgery that the recipient was going to be a child. I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d think about that person in the weeks and months that followed. I knew the transplant had been a success, but understood that I might never know more. When I received a letter from Megan’s grandfather, it blew me away. It was like the icing on the cake.
“That letter meant the world to me. I feel lucky and privileged to have been part of it and it will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Siobhan Stilwell, Megan’s grandmother, added: “When it came to expressing our thanks, there really were no words. We just wanted to let that person know how important she is to us. Megan now talks about Susan, and even though we’ve never met she’ll always be a part of our lives.”
For more information about the process visit: livingdonationscotland.org