How sister’s living donor pledge has transformed her life
- Credit: Nick Butcher
For prospective organ donor Mia McKean her only wish was for her sister to have an illness-free future thanks to the kidney she is willing to give.
But in the process of preparing for the delicate operation she has improved her own health prospects and added a decade to her life span as she works towards the outcome that will benefit them both.
As she is not a match Mrs McKean, of South Walsham, near Acle, is hoping to give her kidney to a stranger while her sister Jackie Shanahan receives one from someone else under the paired organ scheme.
But to be even considered as a candidate she had was told she had to lose weight.
MORE: Three people to be given ‘amazing gift of life’ by Filby grandmotherIf the operation goes ahead her kidney will replace her brother John’s which was transplanted 20 years and has lasted much longer than expected.
And in the last few months the 50-year-old has hit the gym and become an organ transplant campaigner in the hope she can get 800 people to sign up and donate the Just Giving minimum payment of £2 to the kidney unit at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
Already she has lost three stone and come off a cocktail of tablets that were keeping a lid on her anxiety, ME, and diabetes which she no longer has.
MORE: Gorleston man Peter Kirkpatrick who planned own funeral is now “too well” for clinics after transplantBefore signing up at B-Well in Bessemer Road, Great Yarmouth, she could barely even get on an exercise bike and was embarrassed about her lack of mobility in public.
Now she is days into a three month challenge to cover over 500km on the bike, run 7.5 marathons and row the Oxford to Cambridge boat race 20 times over.
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She said: “It’s not just about signing up, it is about talking to your family about your wishes. Some 40pc of registered donors do not donate because their families are not sure what to do when the time comes.”
She said her sister, who suffers from lupus an auto-immune condition, was “overwhelmed”.
Her husband Roger, son Jonny and friend Maud were also going through the process to see who was the best match.
Under the scheme all the operations are done the same day and it could be a four, a six, or even an eight way match.