Kidney donor dad gives son his life back

Jamie Marlow and father Phil Marlow after dad turned out to be a perfect match to be a kidney donor
Jamie Marlow and father Phil Marlow after dad turned out to be a perfect match to be a kidney donor

He lives with one kidney, but dad Phil Marlow takes no medication, needs no special diet and says he feels as fit as ever.

And best of all, his son Jamie is living his life without pain or illness, after Phil’s gift of a kidney saved his life.

Now the father-of-three is keen that others learn from his family’s story – that live transplants are nothing to fear and can change lives.

Mr Marlow, 51, an instructor at HMP Farms Prison in Lancaster, said: “I feel so relieved, Jamie has his life back and his future looks bright.”

Jamie was first diagnosed with kidney disease (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis) in 2010, after being admitted to hospital that Christmas suffering sickness, exhaustion and major swelling.

The young father-of-three began taking medication to even out his condition and return to normal family life with wife Charlotte and Amelia, now seven, ahead of the birth of twins Jaxson and Maisie, now four. But only for so long.

He said: “In the end the medication stopped working. I developed pneumonia last February and went downhill from there. I started on kidney dialysis in July.”

Jamie spent three nights a week at Clifton Hospital, St Annes, undergoing dialysis. Doctors told the family Jamie would need a transplant.

The family all volunteered as donors and dad Phil proved to be a perfect match.

A date was set for the vital operation for September 2014.

But Jamie’s condition deteriorated rapidly, meaning he was too poorly to go under the knife.

Finally, on April 20 this year, the pair had surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Phil underwent a four hour operation to remove one kidney, before surgeons had just 17 minutes to transfer the kidney to Jamie’s body, in an operation lasting three hours.

Phil, an instructor at HMP Lancaster, said: “When I came to from surgery I was being wheeled into the ward and everyone was clapping and cheering. It was quite emotional.

“Everyone on the renal ward knew the importance of what we’d done.”

Jamie’s wife Charlotte, 25, said: “It was an anxious time but when the nurses said it was working it was just great.

“And he looked different straight away after surgery.”

Fiona Biggins, transplant recipient co-ordinator at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was a pleasure to assist in this case and I am very pleased that Philip and Jamie have had a positive experience.”

Phil is now encouraging people to sign up to be live organ donors.

There are around 6,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the UK. Around 300 people in need of a kidney die each year.

He said: “Don’t wait until something like this happens to you, sign up.”

Call Fiona Biggins on 01772 524353 or visit www.giveakidney.org .

To sign up as a donor, visit the website www.organdonation.nhs.uk