People are rallying to support desperately-ill Yorkshire teenager Abi Longfellow in her search to find a lifesaving kidney donor.
Abi, 15, from Robin Hood, near Leeds, suffers from an ultra-rare condition called Dense Deposit Disease (DDD) which stops her kidneys filtering waste from her blood.
She has been on the waiting list for a transplant for more than a year and over the weekend made an emotional plea for potential donors to come forward.
Her words clearly touched many hearts, with the renal transplant team at St James’s Hospital in Leeds receiving more than 100 calls on the back of the appeal.
Medics trying to identify a suitable match for the youngster are now working through the people who got in touch, focusing initially on those who are under 65, live in the UK and do not suffer from diabetes.
Stressing that more potential donors are still wanted, Abi’s mum Jo today told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “What amazing news to be greeted with this morning that so many people are now contacting the transplant co-ordinators offering to donate a kidney.
“The screening is so very thorough that many offers will end up being declined, but with more incredibly kind people continuing to come forward the chance of finding Abi a match is finally beginning to feel more hopeful. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Yorkshire.”
Jo would normally be a suitable donor for her daughter but in a cruel twist of fate cannot help as she herself suffers from a blood disorder.
Doctors initially hoped that Abi’s dad, Andy, might be a match but testing has raised fears that her body could reject his kidney.
The teenager made headlines last year after persuading NHS England to cover the £137,000-a-year cost of post-transplant drug eculizumab.
Should she find the donor she needs, treatment with it will reduce the chances of her new organ being affected by DDD.
Making her appeal at the weekend, Abi said: “Please, please give me a chance of life. Give me a chance to escape all the dialysis and to look after myself. I know it’s a lot to ask of a total stranger but I want to live.”
People willing to sign up as potential donors are asked to e-mail the renal transplant team at Jimmy’s at Leedsthemail@example.com.