Doncaster woman donates lifesaving kidney to stranger after Facebook plea

  • Report by Natalie Higgins

A woman who was told she could wait years for a lifesaving kidney transplant found a donor after an appeal on Facebook.

Ann Gath, from Barnsley, was suffering from kidney failure but her rare blood type meant that she faced a challenge finding a suitable living donor.

After spending months on dialysis, the mother-of-five took to social media to help the search.

Her post said: "I am embarrassed and humbled to be writing this. I am in dire need of a kidney transplant.

"Unfortunately, I am facing the reality that I can't be the mum I want to be whilst also trying to build a career, all while I am facing the challenges of living with kidney failure. It's heartbreaking.

"I never wanted to ask on social media for help, in fact I never wanted to ask anyone for a kidney. Yet my situation isn't good. Dialysis is hard, I'm not living I'm just being kept alive. I feel like my life is on hold. I don’t want to leave my family without a mother, I fear for that more than I fear for my life."

The post was shared thousands of times and Nicola Hinds, from nearby Doncaster, was among those to see it.

She told ITV News the appeal made her emotional.

She said: "The emotions on hearing that news made me teary and I don't know why because I'd not even met Ann at this stage – she didn't know who I was."

After being tested, Nicola was found to be a match.

Ann, 43, said: "It's giving me goosepimples to think about it. Just the emotions I'd gone from, being in a mindset where my life was dialysis and I couldn't see beyond that, to when I'm going to have a transplant."

Ann had the transplant before Christmas.

Nicola and Ann had successful surgery shortly before Christmas. Ann is continuing her recovery and is on a course of drugs to make sure her recovery goes to plan.

She said: "There are no words that can say thank you enough. There's nothing I feel that I can do than respect the gift that's she's given me."

She added: "It's a privilege to have the opportunity to share our story and the benefits of altruistic organ donation. We hope that raising awareness will encourage others to put themselves forward to save a life."

About kidney donation

Kidneys are essential for cleansing the blood.

When they fail, people rely on a dialysis machine to do the jobs their kidneys can no longer do.

But dialysis is not a cure and some people may need to be attached to a dialysis machine for many hours a day until a suitable transplant can be found.

The average life expectancy for someone on dialysis is only five to ten years.

Donation usually happens after death, but because it is possible to live a normal life with only one kidney people can also donate while alive.

Get more information here.

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