Our intensive care nurse Nicki Schofield at HRI is urging people to sign up to the register, in this Organ Donation Week, after her partner received a new kidney and pancreas in an amazing double transplant.
Now, just four months after the op, Nicki Schofield, says: “I’ve got my boyfriend back! The kids have their Dad back.”
Jonny Beddard, at just 33, had had serious health troubles since he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was just seven.
It left him with constant hospital appointments and such poor kidney function he was facing a lifetime of dialysis – then two weeks after a renal consultation, he was told organs were available.
He now has three kidneys and two pancreases – as the old organs aren’t removed - and, for him, there is no need for dialysis and the new pancreas is coping with his insulin levels.
Jonny, says: “It has totally transformed my life from where I was. Before I was breathless, I was always tired even going upstairs.
“Now I can go on bike rides, long walks and play football with my little lad. Everyone says I look 10 times better. I feel like a new person.”
Nicki says: “He was so poorly. There is a massive, massive difference. I’ve got my boyfriend back! We are so grateful to the recipient and her family for him being able to have this transplant. “
The donor was a young woman and the five hour transplant operation was carried out at Manchester Royal Infirmary in April.
Nine days later – and hailed a “record breaker” for such a speedy recovery, Jonny was able to return home to Almondbury, Huddersfield, where he lives with Nicki and daughters aged 13 and 12 and their nine-year-old son.
A fork lift truck driver and team leader, he is now back at work and admits to feeling like “a new person.”
He is eating healthily, with no salt and very few takeaways, with a view to protecting his new organs. The new organs are also situated in different places inside his body to where they naturally occur so he has to protect them so no contact sports.
Having no longer to inject himself up to seven times a day with insulin including at every meal is a big change. He adds: “People used to stare in restaurants when we were out which wasn’t very nice for our family. They were obviously wondering what I was doing!”
His diabetes meant his kidneys had started to deteriorate severely during his teens and the condition led to blood vessels in his eyes popping on two occasions. He was anaemic and tired and eventually his kidney function became dangerously low.
In February this year, Renal Consultant Mansoor Ali at HRI told him a double transplant should be considered as without a new pancreas the diabetes would still continue to attack his kidneys. The family started to talk about the pros and cons. He underwent stress tests where the body is pumped with adrenalin to check he could cope with surgery if organs became available.
However, there were no developments so dialysis was deemed the only option and in April he went to Leeds to start the process for him to be able to be able to take dialysis at home.
Then, amazingly, just a few days later he received the call to say the transplant was on and the operation was on April 21. He adds: “There could have been a wait for up to two years so I know I have been so lucky. If my donor hadn’t been on the register I would not be here to tell this story. I can now look forward to life with Nicki and my kids and that for us all, means everything.”
Nicki, who works in ICU at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, is relatively accustomed to the organ donor process but was unaware of the recipient process and, as yet, they do not know the identity of the donor.
She says to anyone thinking of joining the register this week: “Please do it. It feels surreal it is so wonderful. Jonny’s life has been saved and for that we are so happy and grateful.”
You can sign-up to the register on our webpages - click here.