Tegan Watson from Hitchin in Hertfordshire has described the life changing moment she donated her kidney to her brother Tom as a living donor to help raise awareness on World Kidney Day, 9 March 2023.
27 year-old Tom Watson became critically ill after suffering with extreme sickness and was diagnosed with a serious kidney disorder which resulted in end stage kidney failure. Within weeks Tom was having dialysis treatment three times a week.
“As a family, we were really worried at the prospect of Tom being so young and needing dialysis for the rest of his life.” said Tegan. With the care and support of the Lister Hospital transplant team Tom was put on the transplant waiting list and the team also shared information about living organ donation. “Everyone in the family was instantly interested in this option and several family members including myself completed the initial health questionnaire.”
A series of eligibility tests and a discussion with the consultant resulted in Tegan, as well as having two healthy kidneys, being the only genetic match to donate a kidney and the decision was made to go ahead. Lister Hospital in Stevenage provided the pre- and post-surgery care and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge carried out the successful transplant surgery. Within a week of the operation Tegan and Tom were home and recovered after around six weeks.
“Throughout the process the staff were so empathetic and patient and happy to talk through any concerns and worries which really helped as I was nervous having not had any operations before.”said Tegan. “To see my brother free of dialysis and able to return to gigging with his band, going on holidays and eating whatever he likes has been the biggest joy of my life!”
Chair of the Lister Area Kidney Patients Association (LAKPA) Kirit Modi, MBE, received a living kidney transplant from his wife many years ago. “My congratulations and best wishes to Tegan and Tom.” he said. “Living kidney transplantation is a very good option for patients because it can be planned ahead and, on average, the living transplant lasts longer than a transplant from a deceased donor. The number of living kidney transplants in the UK fell because of COVID and we need to recover urgently to reduce the waiting list and help transform the lives of kidney patients.”
As well as sharing Tegan and Tom’s story to mark World Kidney Day, LAKPA and the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust renal services team has an information stand at Lister hospital between 9am and 4pm to help raise awareness of good kidney health. Patients, volunteers and staff are sharing information and guidance on all aspects of looking after your kidneys as well as responding to questions about organ donation and kidney transplantation.