A BRAVE Wistaston woman was given the gift of life this Christmas.
Lydia Price was just 18 years-old when she was rushed to hospital with kidney failure.
Now she’s looking forward to a new life off dialysis and campaigning for organ donation law changes.
She thanks the support of her family and Kidney Research UK for helping her through the past three years since a fateful day in 2010.
“It was November ninth. I’ll never forget it, “said Lydia, who’d been suffering from tiredness and hair loss but could never have guessed what the following weeks would bring.
“The doctors thought it might be alopecia. I did a full blood test and waited for results.
“At 9pm the same night I heard a knock at the door and it was the out of hours ambulance service.
“I’d never even been to hospital before. I didn’t know what was going on. They were talking about renal failure. It was very surreal.”
Doctors performed an ultrasound, whereupon they delivered the teenager with the alarming news that they couldn’t locate one of her kidneys.
“It was a big shock,” she the 21-year-old. “They were all talking in these medical terms and I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Lydia’s haemoglobin count was abnormally low; meaning the protein in her red blood cells was not carrying the requisite amount of oxygen for body to function normally.
Lydia’s count was just five grams of haemoglobin per decilitre, compared to a healthy reading of 12.
“They couldn’t believe I was still walking. They said I had the statistics of a dead person,” said Lydia, who spent the next three years on dialysis.
Studying in Chester, Lydia decided to visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham to be near family in the midlands, and was put on the transplant list.
She admits part of her thought she’d never find a donor, but then came the day her life changed.
“I was in class in Chester and I noticed I’d had a missed call. I saw that the number had a Birmingham dial code and I began to think: ‘Is this it?’ “I went into the corridor and rang the number. That’s when I knew. The call rang out and the answer phone of the transplant clinic came on.”
Lydia found out that she had a kidney, but now faced a race against time to get to Birmingham for a successful transplant.
“It was like a race for life. I had my fingers crossed we didn’t hit any traffic,” she said.
“It was my own fault, but I’d had some chocolate and crisps during the day, which meant they had to delay the operation slightly for my potassium levels to drop.”
The operation took three hours, but on the morning of November 20 2013, Lydia woke up with a new life ahead of her.
“Before Christmas, my mum was asking what I wanted apart from a new kidney, and then it happened! So I got my present early this year.”
Lydia said she couldn’t have got through the past few years without her family and Kidney Research UK.
She is a vocal supporter of making changes to donor laws that would require people to opt out; rather than into organ donation – a system already given the go-ahead in Wales.
As well as the complications of finding a matched kidney, people on waiting lists can get superseded if they become ill.
The process to check a voluntary donor can also be very lengthy.
“The Government really need to change the law. There are about 100,000 people on the kidney waiting list,” said Lydia.
“I was very lucky. I was on the list for two years and ten months. I met a lady in hospital that had been waiting for 11 years. It was actually quite shocking.
“Kidney Research UK is doing wonders with research to help people like me.
“The charity was always in contact and they were a great source of information. I was going through so many new experiences and they helped me make sense of it all.
“The law needs to change. There are so many lives that could be being saved.”