Mum donates kidney to save her son’s life

Marie and John.
Marie and John.
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A mum saved her three-year-old son’s life by donating one of her kidneys after both of his failed.

Marie Stephenson was found to be the closest match for toddler John, who was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder when he was just five weeks old.

Marie and John in hospital awaiting treatment.

Marie and John in hospital awaiting treatment.

Both Marie and John have now fully recovered from the ordeal and are leading healthy lives.

Marie, 33, said John seemed perfectly normal when he was born at home in Over Kellet.

She said: “He looked a healthy new born, but as the weeks passed we noticed he was a very unsettled baby and we decided to take him to hospital when he was five weeks old as he seemed very puffy and his skin was mottled.

“We were bathing him one night and his tummy button popped out filled with fluid.”

Doctors initially thought John was suffering from malnutrition, but the next day tests showed he had congenital nephrotic syndrome, which meant he would need an early kidney transplant and had a 50 per cent chance of survival.

As a result of the condition, John’s kidneys were leaking protein known as albumin, along with a few other key blood components.

The tot lost eight-and-a-half ounces overnight from fluid being drained from his tiny body, dropping to below his birth weight.

John was transferred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where the condition is so rare they see just one child every 18 months with it.

During his stay, the family was filmed by Channel 5 for a TV programme on life at the hospital, which will be screened this Christmas.

At nine months life became more normal for the family after parents Marie and Mike, 38, were trained to carry out John’s treatment at home.

However, at 19 months old John’s kidneys started to fail and by the time he was two-and-a-half he was on dialysis.

In January this year, both of John’s kidneys were removed.

Tests showed that Marie was the best match, and on July 24 a transplant took place in Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Marie said: “We have never looked back. It has changed our lives forever.

“John stayed in hospital for seven days but bounced back really quickly, and I went back to work two weeks later.”

John, who goes to Hornby nursery, is on anti-rejection drugs for the immediate future and will be checked every two months, but otherwise can live a normal life.

Marie said: “He is just amazing, he has so much energy now.”

The family is now aiming to raise money for the Kidneys for Life charity through an open day at 315 Gym, where both John and his sister Lexi, four, go swimming with the Piranhas Swim School.

The open day, complete with a duck race and bouncy castles and sponsored by Morecambe FC, is on Sunday, September 28 from 11am.

Piranhas have also elected Kidneys for Life as their 2014/2015 charity.

Marie, said: “John’s care cost £28,000 so we are hoping to raise that amount over a series of events.”