A YOUNG mum – whose five-year-old son has been diagnosed with kidney disease – has urged people to sign up for the Organ Donor Register.
Suzanne Hunter (26), from Kirkintilloch, was told she had polycystic kidney disease, an illness which causes the kidneys to become enlarged and potentially fail, eight years ago.
Her mother, grandfather and son have all now been diagnosed with the condition - which can lie dormant for many years.
Suzanne has suffered from infections, burst cysts and severe kidney stones, but thankfully, despite her kidneys swelling to double their normal size, they still function normally.
But Suzanne lives with the fear that the condition could worsen, leading to dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant - an operation which could only be done if a suitable donor was found.
She said: “It’s impossible to know when it might happen, but I get a lot of support from people with the same condition on Facebook groups.
“I also work with the Kidney Research charity and have met hundreds of people who have had a transplant or who are on the waiting list and having to go through dialysis, which is an awful thing.
“If somebody is thinking about joining the organ register I’d say ‘just do it’. You could save several lives just by doing one small thing. I joined when I was 16.”
Suzanne’s plea is especially poignant as it is also on behalf of her five-year-old son, Sean, who was recently diagnosed with the same condition as his mum.
She said: “It was heartbreaking. I’d convinced myself that he would be negative. At least it gives us a chance to come to terms with it and, because of the type of disease. Hopefully he won’t develop symptoms until he is much older.”
She added: “The more people who sign up to the register the better the chance that, if the worst should happen, he’ll get the treatment he needs.”
Signing up for the register is easy - just go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 1232323, or text ‘SAVE’ to 84118.
If you or a member of your family has undergone a life-changing transplant operation the Herald would like to hear your story to help boost the organ donor campaign.
Give us a call on 0141 775 0040 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.