DEVOTED mum Eve Rice has given son Gary the gift of life twice – after donating a kidney to him.
Doctors are still unsure as to why the 33-year-old’s kidneys began to fail but it meant undergoing 13 months of dialysis and an agonising wait on the organ transplant list.
After months of tests, Eve, 60, proved to be the perfect match and she was able to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Following the pair’s operations Gary, from Biddick Woods, is now a picture of health and is urging other Wearsiders to sign the organ donor register to save lives in the future.
Gary, a teacher at Thornhill School said: “It’s the ultimate gift and I think any parent would want to do that for their child. Mam has given me the gift of life twice and I am so grateful.
“You notice the difference immediately after the operation, the energy you feel is phenomenal. As soon as I got home from the hospital I wanted to be up and about doing things. I felt full of life.”
Eve, a former teacher at Usworth Colliery Primary School, said: “There wasn’t a shadow of doubt. Gary needed a kidney and it was just a case of whether me or his dad were able to give him one.
“Just to look at Gary and see your son the way he was before is amazing.”
Dad-of-one Gary only noticed something was wrong when he began experiencing headaches. A visit to the GP and subsequent blood tests shockingly revealed that he was on to his last 10 per cent of kidney function.
He and his family underwent months of waiting while he received treatment and to discover whether either of his parents, Eve and Rob, were suitable donors.
Eve, of Mount Pleasant, proved a perfect match and she and Gary underwent their transplant operations in December at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Gary, who is married to Lisa, said: “I think it was most difficult for my dad because at the same time me and mam were having our operations, my sister Lucy was having her baby by C-section at Sunderland Royal so he didn’t know where to be.”
After eight days in hospital, Gary, who is dad to Emma, four, was able to return home where he made a full recovery.
He said: “Doctors have investigated but they don’t know why my kidneys failed, they think it could have been due to damage from multiple infections over time and that the headaches were caused by high blood pressure.”
After their ordeal, the Rice family are now supporters of the Kidney Research charity and Gary is hosting a fund-raising night in the coming months.
Today, 47,000 are alive because of the work of Kidney Research UK.
Every day, eight people will die waiting for a transplant.
You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by:
• Filling in a form online at www.uktransplant.org.uk
• Calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23 (Lines are open 24 hours a day all year round. Calls are charged at your contracted rate for local calls)
• By texting SAVE to 84118