NAOMI Key is a medical marvel – she has four kidneys keeping her alive.
She’s one of only a handful of patients each year to undergo a procedure which allows an adult to receive kidneys from a donor under the age of five.
And though she will never know who her donor organs came from, Naomi is eternally grateful to the grieving parents of an 18-month-old baby whose generosity gave her the gift of life.
Naomi, 24, has her own two kidneys which are partially functioning, and a pair from the donor.
Now she is urging others to become donors to help save a life.
Naomi, 24, of Titchfield Road, Stubbington, had the double kidney transplant at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.
She said: ‘At 16 I was diagnosed with a reflux, which means urine would go back into my kidneys, causing scarring.
‘It was a trying time – I always felt tired and sick.’
Naomi’s best chance was to have a kidney transplant, and she was placed on the waiting list.
But last year, her condition took a turn for the worse, and the hospital started preparing Naomi for dialysis – a process which removes excess water and waste from the blood.
In September, Naomi received a phone call to say a matching donor had been found.
‘When I arrived, I was told there were two kidneys from an 18-month-old baby who had sadly died,’ added Naomi.
‘For the family there are no words that can describe how I feel. I want to say thank you to them, as they have given me a whole new chance at life.
‘I’m sorry for their loss. When I heard about it, I was upset. But it was their wish to help someone else.’
Sam Dutta, renal consultant at QA, said that a double kidney transplant from a child donor to an adult was uncommon. He said: ‘In the past 15 years data shows only 56 such operations have been performed in the UK from donors less than five years of age – three were done by me in Portsmouth.’
Typically, an adult kidney is about 12cm long, a child’s kidney is 6cm, but these will grow some more after the transplant.
The family will be donating £1,200 as a thank you to QA.
A bucket collection was held at the Arlington Fleet Services fireworks display.
And Naomi is looking to do a skydive to raise more money.
She urged people to put themselves on the donor register.
‘It shouldn’t be that you wait for someone close to you to be affected before you act, she said.
‘I want people to join anyway.’
To find out more, go to organdonation.nhs.uk
National drive aimed at getting more people to give the gift of life
NATIONALLY there’s a shortage of organ donors and a drive to get more people to become donors.
Sam Dutta, a renal consultant at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, said: ‘In December 2012, more than 6,000 patients were waiting for kidney transplantation. Some of them will die before getting a transplant.
‘The average waiting time for getting a deceased donor kidney transplant is about 900 days.’ Around 30 per cent of the UK are registered as organ donors. NHS Blood and Transplant hopes to raise this to 60 per cent by 2017.
Naomi Key said: ‘Having the transplant has given me a chance at life. Before I used to feel tired, cold and sick.
‘But now I feel so much better. I wish more people would want to do that – give someone a chance at life.’