NICOLA HATTEBERG has been given a new lease of life thanks to her brother.
Two years ago she developed liver disease and was close to needing dialysis.
But in the ultimate gesture of sibling love, her younger brother Colin Shaw donated one of his kidneys so she could lead a full life once again.
Now the 31-year-old is full of energy, can do things she couldn’t before, and will now have children.
‘I feel like I can live again,’ said Nicola of Warren Avenue, Southsea.
‘I feel like Colin’s given me a second chance. I am so grateful.’
Living with kidney disease was a constant struggle for Nicola. She suffered from extreme fatigue and needed a lot of sleep. She was limited to what she could do and had to try and conserve every bit of energy. Knowing she was getting close to needing dialysis, she spoke to her doctor about the possibility of a transplant.
It was then her brother, mother and husband were checked to see if they could be a donor and Colin, 26, was found to be a 100 per cent match. Colin, of Billy Lawn Avenue, Leigh Park, said: ‘Of course I was going to do it – she’s my sister.
‘It was worth it to have the old Nic back and help her get her life back. You can see how much she has changed.’
Nicola and Colin had their operations done at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Colin had one kidney removed and his remaining kidney is now growing to compensate for the loss of the one he donated. Nicola now has three kidneys as patients who have kidney transplants do not have their own kidneys removed.
Both Colin and Nicola have fully recovered since the operation and Nicola has a new lease of life.
She said: ‘Before the transplant I was just so tired all the time – I was like a 60-year-old woman.
‘I would be ready for bed by 8pm. With kidney disease you just don’t want to do anything. You don’t realise how much the kidneys do but they filter food and toxins, and all kinds of things.
‘I was functioning on 20 per cent of one of my kidneys. I was in and out of hospital with infections all the time. When I knew I was getting the transplant, I thought my condition would just not get worse. But it exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t believe it.
‘Now I’ve got so much energy, I’m going to the gym, I’m always running round – I’m like I used to be.
‘I’ve got colour back in my skin, my asthma, which came on because of the kidney disease, has gone.
‘And now I should be able to have a baby. Kidney patients can’t normally have babies because they will either miscarry or their kidneys will fail. I had resigned myself to the fact I couldn’t have children, but now it’s an option.
‘The transplant has completely changed my life.’
Mum Yvonne Shaw has praised her son for helping Nicola. She said: ‘I’m so proud of him. He’s an absolute star.’
She added: ‘It’s been a very emotional journey, having both your children have an operation. But they’ve both been amazing and it’s clear to see it’s changed Nicola’s life.’
Nicola and Colin are now campaigning for people to join the donor register, or to become a living kidney donor. Nicola said: ‘I’ve seen how life changing organ donation is now and so I just want to encourage as many people as possible to become a donor.’
To find out more and to join the register visit uktrsansplant.org