Hi, my name is Kate Lewis.
I am an advocate and my son James, aged 6, is an ambassador for Live Life Give Life. I am a living donor, having given my kidney to James this summer. James has had two transplants: a heart and a kidney.
At the age of 3 James was diagnosed with Restrictive Cardiomyopathy, a degenerative and incurable heart condition. His only hope was a heart transplant. At this point it became apparent that there is a chronic shortage of organs for children. I decided that I wanted to do something important to help raise awareness that children can also be organ donors. I became involved with Live Life Give Life, impressed with their campaigning to increase numbers of organ donors. This led to the 'James Needs a Heart' campaign.
James spent 15 months waiting for a new heart, during which his other organs started to fail. At the eleventh hour he got his life-saving gift of a new heart at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. There James struggled to overcome many complications, including a stroke and chronic pancreatitis. His strong will to live, his fantastic new heart and the dogged determination of his medical team won through. In total James spent 115 days in PICU.
At the end of January 2015, James was transferred back to Southampton Children's Hospital, where he started haemo-dialysis and recovered from his complications. He learnt to walk again and started school in the summer term of Reception, in between dialysis sessions. He made good progress and attended school for two days a week (whilst continuing dialysis) throughout Year 1.
In July 2016, I donated my left kidney to James. We have both made a good recovery from the transplant and are delighted to say that Sidney the Kidney is doing a great job! Never has anyone been so excited about doing a wee! James is now back at school and enjoying life.
Thanks to the work of the Live Life Give Life team and other people around the country sharing the message about organ donation, together with our fantastic NHS, James now has great quality of life. Organ donation has transformed his life - and ours.