Doting dad’s gift of life to his beautiful surprise daughter with the help of two Birmingham hospitals
A couple from Birmingham discovered they were expecting a new baby just weeks before she was due - weeks after she was born they feared they may lose her after discovering she had a life-threatening condition
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But, not only were they surprised to have a second child - just five weeks after she was born they learned that their baby girl had a life-threatening condition.
Little Evie Kemp was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome. The condition causes the kidneys to leak large amounts of protein into the urine and that can cause problems, including swelling of body tissues and a greater chance of catching infections.
A small number of children with the condition don’t respond well to the treatment, and eventually suffer kidney failure and require a transplant. But Evie’s loving dad, And, came to her rescue with a ‘gift of life’ after he donated his kidney.
Evie’s mum, Keeley Kemp said: “We initially took Evie into hospital for something completely different. Her left arm was locked in the same position, but they noticed that she was very bloated with fluids and admitted her straight away. We were transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital after a week and were in for five and a half months.”
This was obviously a huge shock to Keeley and Evie’s dad Andy, so soon after their daughter’s birth. Keeley added: “We didn’t know we were having Evie until just before her birth, so we had the shock of having a baby, then five weeks later we were being told that she might not make it. We didn’t know how we would tell people, how we would discuss it with her brother?
“As soon as we got to the Children’s Hospital, they were great. They explained everything in a way that anyone would understand, as neither of us are from a medical background.”
Both parents, Keeley and Andy, wanted to do everything possible to save their child. When it came to the possibility of a transplant they didn’t hesitate.
Keeley said: “We both put ourselves forward straight away and were tested, we were both matches but Andy was a better match. We went through the whole process including testing bloods and x-rays to be signed off as a donor.”
Andy said: “When transplant was discussed, it wasn’t even a question as to whether I would be tested. To see her now and how well she has done makes me so happy to have donated.”
On February 9, father and daughter went to Theatres at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. As Evie was so small her bladder needed to be rebuilt prior to the operation, something that is common with her condition. Her ‘new’ kidney was working a few hours after the operation.
What Birmingham Children’s Hospital said
Carmel Capelett, Transplant Sister, said: “This family have done amazing and have coped with so much. Evie is in such good form. When she attends clinic herself and our clinical support worker work together and Evie likes to tell her if she wants her blood pressure done first or weight and height.
“She still gets her dressing changed so has to attend the dialysis unit which she is not so keen on, but she loves to get a sticker and do her colouring while she waits. She’s doing so well.”
How are Andy and Evie Kemp now?
Both daughter, now aged four, and dad are recovering after their respective operations. Mum, Keeley, said: “Evie has been great, she’s recovered really well, she is still getting checked regularly in order to get her levels right, while Dad has been very sore after the operation, but is now doing a lot better.
“We want to give everyone a massive thank you, the play workers and nurses have such a good relationship with Evie it makes everything so much easier.”
How to donate organs?
You can donate some organs while you are alive, and this is called living organ donation. However, most organ and tissue donations come from people who have died. If you’re inspired to donate, please register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register but also share it with your family or closest friends too, to give them the certainty to support your decision at a difficult time.
You could save or transform up to nine people’s lives by donating your organs when you die and help even more people by donating tissue, such as your heart valves, skin, bone, tendons and corneas. Visit NHS’s organ donation website to register your decision and find out more.