GRANDMOTHER Christine Butler has been described as ‘an amazing person’ after donating her kidney to her nephew and giving him his life back.
The 58-year-old nurse, who previously worked at Princess Margaret and Great Western Hospitals in Swindon, is still recovering from surgery after going through the life-saving operation at the end of June for the sake of her nephew Mark Kington, 40, of Derry Hill, Calne.
Mrs Butler, of Great Somerford, fought back tears as she explained why she wanted to help her brother’s son.
“It was niggling and had been on my mind a while,” she said.
“I wondered if I would be any good.
“I spoke to my children and told them that I was thinking about donating a kidney and what did they think, and my youngest son said that if it was one of his nephews or nieces he would do it straight away, so that confirmed it for me.”
Mr Kington was born at Greenways Hospital, Chippenham, with renal failure, where the kidneys are unable to properly filter waste from the blood.
His condition went undiagnosed until he was about six months old.
It wasn’t until he was 12 that he was told he would need to go on to dialysis four times a day.
“I was in hospital for about six weeks then,” said Mr Kingston, a graphic designer who works at Image Factory in Chippenham.
“They discharged me to start doing it myself and the same night my parents got a call to say they had a kidney for me.”
Mr Kington was given a kidney transplant on February 23, 1986.
“It gave me my life back and I had a lot more energy,” he added.
“The life expectancy (of the organ) when you have a transplant is eight years; mine lasted 23 years.”
Despite the success of the operation Mr Kington fell ill again about five years ago when he started to get tired and ended up in hospital with nausea and diarrhea.
“I started feeling more and more tired as time went on,” said Mr Kington.
“I went back on to dialysis three times a week. It always left me tired and I couldn’t go on holiday.
“My wife was always tired as well because she was my carer.”
However, two-and-a-half years ago, and after much consideration, Mrs Butler contacted her nephew to ask if she could be his donor.
“I was so happy. My wife was crying with relief,” said Mr Kington.
To the family’s delight, Mrs Butler’s kidney scored a five out of six in terms of a match.
The pair went into hospital on June 21 and Mr Kington was discharged on June 27, the day before he turned 40.
Mr Kington said: “It was the best birthday present for me – the gift of life.
“I was going to have a party but I called my Aunty Chris and said ‘Aunty Chris, I would rather have a kidney than a party’.
“I just don’t know how to thank her; it is amazing what she has done for me.”
Mr Kington and his aunt hope their story will encourage more people to consider coming forward to be live donors.