WHEN Ed Goncalves donated one of his kidneys to his son Luis, he was changing both of their lives for the better.
Now almost a year after Luis, 10, received one of his dad’s kidneys at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Gosport family are launching a national charity.
Ed hopes Kidney Kids will create a support network for youngsters undergoing transplants and their families – making their lives better too. He told The News it is already taking shape with 61 families using a support forum on Facebook – and that government ministers are also supporting the initiative.
‘When your kid is ill that’s a difficult situation,’ he said. ‘Going through it on your own, or feeling like you’re on your own, is much, much worse.
‘This is designed to address that – we’re there to support one another.’
As reported, Luis was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure in March 2012 and a search for a kidney donor was launched. His kidneys had not developed properly as he grew up.
He was on dialysis from May 2012 and underwent 10 operations before he and Ed went ahead with the transplant on March 19 last year. Now Luis is much better and is home in Broadsands Drive, in Gosport, with his mum Siobhan, 43, and twin brother Joe.
They launched a campaign last year over organ donation, which saw Luis sent a letter from the Prime Minister David Cameron. They want an opt-out donor system adopted in England.
Luis said: ‘I was lucky, I got a kidney from my dad. Some kids can’t get a kidney from their family and have to wait five years for a transplant.’
And Luis’ brother Joe is helping with the new charity, which was set up as no children’s kidney patient groups existed at the time.
Ed says the youngster cracked jokes at difficult times during Luis’ illness to keep everyone happy and so he is now designing a joke book, which will be sent to children on dialysis.
Joe said: ‘I wanted to make people laugh to keep them happy. I started doing a joke book for Luis and dad when they were in hospital. Hopefully children who do dialysis will like it too.’
Around 150 children in the United Kingdom have a kidney transplant each year, with 170 waiting on dialysis. Each are invited to submit their jokes too.