This week (7 – 13 September) is #OrganDonationWeek and we spoke to 10-year-old Leoni Robertson, who underwent a life-saving kidney transplant operation this summer.
We’re asking everyone to take some time to record their organ donation decision and, importantly, share their wishes with their loved ones about giving the Gift of Life.
Leoni kindly shared her story and what her transplantation operation, carried out by our expert team, has meant for her.
She explained: “When I was a baby I was born premature and diagnosed with kidney dysplasia.
“My first six years were spent on a feeding tube and medication before I went into stage five kidney failure and went on the transplant list.”
Kidney dysplasia is a condition where the structures of one or both kidneys do not develop normally while in the womb.
Leoni was on the transplant waiting list for four and a half years and during this time she had to undergo dialysis for ten hours each day. Her diet was restricted while on dialysis, meaning she was not allowed to eat chocolate, potatoes, dairy products and more.
She said: “Because of my diagnosis I didn’t get to decorate my bedroom as it just felt like a hospital room with the machines and I never used to get a full night’s sleep as the machine would alarm during the night. That’s different now though.
“It’s always been my dream to have a kidney, there’s lots of stuff I couldn’t do before, so when it finally happened it felt amazing – when I woke up I felt like a different person.
“I can now eat what I want, go to sleepovers and go swimming, I can do anything I want to do now.”
Roxanne Robertson, Leoni’s mum, said: “It’s hard to put into words how much this means to us.
“If someone is waiting for a kidney transplant, never give up. You’ve got to have hope.”
Becoming an organ donor only takes a few minutes, but you can bring a lifetime of health and happiness to those who are waiting for a transplant.
Your family will be asked to support organ donation if, when you die, you are in a position to donate your organs. So make sure you tell them you want to be an organ donor too.
Find out more about organ donation here: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/helping-you-to-decide/about-organ-donation/