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Real Stories With Ranvir Singh - Episode 3

Real Stories With Ranvir Singh, ITV at 7.30pm Photo: ITV / Real Stories

Ranvir Singh and Michael Underwood return tonight at 7.30pm on ITV with three more unique stories of people involved in extraordinary, life-changing events.

Abi’s Fight for Life...

Abi Longfellow Credit: ITV / Real Stories

Abi Longfellow is like any other 12-year-old girl. But her life changed forever two years ago when she was diagnosed with a rare disease that stops her kidneys from working.

We started to notice something wasn't right…one night she didn’t sleep, she was vomiting and it was blood that was coming up. She just looked at me and said: ‘Mum, am I going to die?’”

– Jo Longfellow, Abi's mum
Abi with her mum Credit: ITV / Real Stories

Abi’s life now revolves around dialysis, but she can only carry on with this for a few more years. A breakthrough came last year when she was told her Dad’s kidney was a perfect match for a transplant.

And with her dad, whose kidney she is set to receive Credit: ITV / Real Stories

It’s really special knowing that you are going to get your dads kidney… it’s really nice of him.”

– Abi Longfellow

The plan was for this vital operation to take place in June.

But a drug called Eculizumab was needed, which could wipe out the disease if it recurred in the transplanted kidney from her Dad.

It’s one of the most expensive drugs in the world. The NHS had to refuse to fund the drug as they were not convinced it would be effective for Abi. The Longfellows fought the decision, but last month their appeal was rejected for the third time.

The Longfellows are still fighting the decision. They are hoping for yet another review by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) around the policy of prescribing Eculizumab in cases like Abi’s. The Longfellows have also started raising the £50,000 they need to give Abi an initial course of the drug if her transplant goes ahead.

But for Abi and her family, their biggest battle now is against time.

We have got hope here. We aren’t going to give up on this fight. We are a big family and we are a fighting family”

– Andy Longfellow, Abi's dad

Meet the Smiths...

Plenty to smile about - Steve and Tracy Smith Credit: ITV / Real Stories

Steve and Tracy Smith have been married for 30 years. In that time, the family business has gone from a market stall in the West Midlands to transforming the British high street – by dreaming up the concept of the pound store. Along the way, they’ve amassed a personal fortune of approximately £50million.

The Smiths at home Credit: ITV / Real Stories

Despite their wealth, Tracy remains as thrifty as she always was! She allows her husband £20 spending money a day, bulk buys her cleaning products and loves snapping up a bargain in the supermarket clothing aisle.

I just think it’s in me, because that is what I always did… I still go and look for bargains.”

– Tracy Smith

Last year the couple realised money can’t buy health when Steve ended up in intensive care while on holiday.

When you are on your death bed I started thinking about all the experiences I’ve had in my life… but I also started thinking about all the things I am not going to be able to do.”

– Steve Smith

Ranvir meets the down-to-earth couple in their home and discovers how they maintained their personal and professional relationship while watching their bank balance grow.

A Woman’s Best Friend…

Mary Lamb Credit: ITV / Real Stories

Mary Lamb is a quite inspirational woman. Despite her disability, she’s a remarkably upbeat, confident and outgoing person. But life wasn’t always like that.

A self-confessed ‘biker-chick’ and keen horsewoman, Mary had a wonderful, active life and a loving, supportive family.

But in 2007 Mary was diagnosed with a condition called HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with Pressure Palsies), a progressive hereditary genetic condition that affects mainly her hands, arms, legs and feet. Walking and picking things up are very difficult and, even when Mary’s lying in bed, her muscles can go into painful spasm, waking her and preventing her sleeping until the symptoms subside.

Despite the love and support of her family, Mary began to feel increasingly depressed and isolated, and very vulnerable when going out in her wheelchair.

One day she saw a television programme about the ways that dogs could help people with disabilities, and a quick web search led her to Dogs for the Disabled.

When Mary was matched with a dog, she was incredibly excited, though somewhat nervous. But training went well and two years ago Yan came to live with Mary and support her.

Yan was matched with Mary Credit: ITV / Real Stories

And life has now been transformed for Mary thanks to her very special four-legged friend.

The happy couple... Credit: ITV / Real Stories

To find out more about the charity and to donate visit the Dogs for the Disabled website.