10 June 2016
A patient at the Royal Free Hospital has just celebrated her 30th anniversary of receiving a kidney transplant.
Teresa Driver, from Ipswich, had the transplant when she was 14 years old after suffering kidney damage caused by a streptococcal infection at the age of six.
“I was put on the transplant waiting list at 13,” said Teresa. “Thankfully I only had to wait six months until a suitable kidney became available. Although I wasn’t on dialysis at the time, my kidneys were getting worse so it would only have been a matter of time before I would have had to have had dialysis. I don’t know anything about the person the kidney came from, only that it was from someone in Ireland.”
Teresa said that when she first had the transplant her health suffered some ups and downs and she had to be admitted to hospital after she suffered a reaction to the immunosuppressive drugs she was taking to prevent her body rejecting the new kidney.
“I was in isolation for six weeks,” said Teresa. “Then they changed the medication and I’ve been on the same medication since then.
“I thank my lucky stars I was given this kidney. I wish I would have been able to say a face-to-face thank you to the family of the person who gave me the kidney. I wrote them a thank you letter, but I didn’t hear anything back.
“Every year I have anniversary celebration for my kidney and I think of the person who donated the kidney – their family would have lost someone at the same time. Because this year was the kidney’s 30th anniversary I had a special celebration. We had a big family party – I always get presents, I am very spoilt!”
Teresa now goes to her local hospital in Ipswich for regular check-ups to make sure her kidney is still working properly.
She added: “When I had the transplant they said they had no idea how long it would last, but I wasn’t expecting it to still be going 30 years later. I would love to get the UK record for the longest kidney transplant – I think that it’s something over 40 years so I’ve got some time to go.”
Image: Teresa, front, with her twin sister Rachel.
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About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.
The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.