A woman from Northiam has spoken of the ‘incredible feeling’ of donating a life-saving kidney to a two-year-old boy she had never met.
Katrina Roberts, 24, underwent the operation, on Tuesday (June 5) after spotting a Facebook appeal to help Ethan Davies whose kidney was damaged in the womb after his bladder enlarged.
Ethan, who had his operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, was thought to have responded well to his new kidney, according to Katrina.
She said: “It was a great success. His surgeon said he is already producing urine which is great news.
“I have been feeling a bit up and down since the operation but I’m getting there.
“It has been the most incredible feeling knowing that someone’s life has been changed in the space of just three days.”
The Facebook appeal was posted in January onto a page called Ethan’s Journey (to a kidney transplant) by Ethan’s parents Nicola, 36, and James Davies, 43, before being shared onto the page UK Cops Humour – which Katrina follows as her partner Jack Wood, 25, is a police officer.
The appeal said the ideal donor was a female with an O+ blood type which matched Katrina’s.
Out of the people who offered to donate a kidney, Katrina was chosen as the perfect match as her kidney function was estimated at about 115 per cent – the average being around 85 per cent.
She said: “After seeing it, I emailed Great Ormond Street Hospital to get some more information.
“After that I had my tissue tested to see whether it matched with Ethan’s. Before my operation, I was also told the function of my kidney was well above 100 per cent. My tissue was found to be a match, in February, before I met Ethan and his family for the first time in May, about three weeks before the operation.
“That was an emotional experience because they are such a lovely family. They tried to say thank you to me but they couldn’t really find the words as they thought thank you was not really enough.
“Eventually we just tried to talk about normal things but they were just really appreciative for what I was going to do for them.”
Nicola visited Katrina in the days after her operation and gave her a kidney bean necklace from Tiffany to say thank you.
Katrina – who will be starting a new job as a call handler for the ambulance service when she is back to full fitness – visited Ethan when she was discharged from hospital last week.
Thanking Katrina, Ethan’s father James said: “We never thought that anyone would come forward off their own back, who we didn’t know, to put themselves on the line for our son.
“We had 150 people come forward and Katrina came out on top. She is amazing really and we cannot thank her enough.
“Ethan is doing really well and hopefully coming out of hospital today. He has done better than we expected.
“How do we repay someone who has given our son a chance in life? It sounds dramatic but she has done that.”
Katrina added: “A living donation is slightly different to opting in for organ donations after you die, but hopefully people are changing the way they think about organ donations.
“I feel so proud to have been able to help.”