Father and son Jonny and Steve Reynard are both men of few words.
But when asked by the YEP what he wants to say to his dad, Jonny replies with a heartfelt and emotional “thank you.”
That’s because 55-year-old Steve has given his son the gift of a brighter future and a better life – with a vital kidney donation.
Speaking at his home in Swarcliffe, where he is recovering from a six hour transplant operation a fortnight ago, Jonny, 32, said: “It’s not like I can buy him a bunch of flowers to say thanks for this. He’s given me a second chance at life, which is something not many people get.”
Jonny was diagnosed with the condition, Wagner’s granulomatosis in 2007, which causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. The symptoms began shortly after his 16-month-old son Stephen died from a brain disorder.
Jonny said: “I started off with pains in my face and they thought it was my wisdom teeth, but I just carried on getting worse.”
Steve added: “We put it down to grief but he just kept getting lower and lower and he wasn’t eating. Finally his mum, Janet, insisted that we went to see his doctor.”
After a long series of tests, father-of-one Jonny was diagnosed. The condition left him deaf in one ear and had also begun to attack his kidneys. Around 18 months ago, they started to fail.
Jonny was told he would need a donor and the family decided Steve was the best candidate.
Steve said: “People ask if it was a difficult decision, but it was dead easy. If you have family, you do anything for them that you can. He’s got a son and I have a grandson that needs his dad.”
Preparation for surgery - which included Steve shedding three and-a-half stone and overcoming his fear of injections- was followed by the successful operation at St James’s Hospital on September 14.
Jonny is now looking forward to playing with his son, eight-year-old Liverpool fanatic John Paul. He said: “I’m looking forward to being part of society again. And I can’t wait to be able to play with my son without being knackered after five minutes!”
Steve added: “I’ve given him the ultimate gift and it’s great to see him back to himself.”