The festive period is always a special time but for four-year-old, Oliver Keitley, this Christmas will be even more magical after he received the most precious present from his dad earlier this year – the Gift of Life through organ donation.
Oliver was diagnosed with renal failure at birth and throughout his life he’s undergone dialysis treatment, which extracts excess water and toxins from the blood for those with a kidney that has lost its function, at our Children’s Hospital.
The family had to make the trip from their home in Shipton-on-Stour, in Warwickshire, three to four times each week meaning he had to stay still for hours. The essential life-saving treatment also meant he missed out on many things that children of his age love like going swimming, bouncing on trampolines and spending time with friends.
This April they received the fantastic news that dad, John, was found to be a match for his son and he went on to donate his kidney to Oliver. He underwent a six-hour procedure at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to remove the organ, which was then transported across the city, to our Children’s Hospital where our expert teams performed the transplantation procedure which was a huge success.
Oliver is no longer on any form of dialysis and he’s now back at school. It also means that unlike the Christmas periods before in his life, Oliver can enjoy so many things sometimes taken for granted, including eating sweet treats and sampling the results of home baking sessions with mum, Catherine.
John said: “We’re so proud of Oliver. He’s always smashing new milestones. He’s a bright little boy willing to learn new things and he’s happy to be back at school. He’s very cheeky still and has been so brave through it all. It was amazing to be able to give him the Gift of Life.”
Dr Suzanne Stephens, one of the team who has cared for Oliver, said: “Organ donation is life changing for our children on dialysis and, in some cases, allows young people to avoid the need for dialysis at all. Oliver’s transplant is an example of what a donor’s amazing generosity can achieve. “Oliver was incredibly brave while he was with us and his dad, John’s, courage is admirable. I’m delighted he’s doing so well. We wish Oliver and his family all the very best for the future.”
Giving the Gift of Life through organ donation could be the most special thing you will ever give someone. Although the country now has an ‘opt out system’ it’s really important that you share your decision with your loved ones so they are absolutely sure of your wishes. A simple conversation could help save a life. Find out more on the NHS Organ Donation website - www.organdonation.nhs.uk