We can never thank you enough – that was the heartfelt message today from the family of courageous teenager Abi Longfellow to the medical team who made her lifesaving kidney transplant operation possible.
As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, 16-year-old Abi’s agonising wait for a transplant finally came to an end when she underwent surgery at Leeds General Infirmary on August 10.
She is now back home in Robin Hood, near Rothwell in Leeds, and going from strength to strength, although she is still heading into hospital three times a week for blood tests and check-ups.
Abi will also have to wait 12 weeks until she can visit busy places, as her immune system is currently weakened to stop her body rejecting her new kidney.
But she has adapted “instantly” to the post-op changes in her medication, while next week she is due to have surgery to remove her dialysis line from her chest.
And today, speaking to the YEP for the first time since her daughter’s operation, mum Jo said: “To be honest, I’m totally overwhelmed – it still hasn’t truly sunk in.
“I didn’t leave her side during her stay in hospital and throughout the 16 days she was so determined, calm, composed and incredibly brave.
“The team at the LGI was just tremendous. Dr Finlay, Dr Tyerman, Dr Prajapati, Dr Newnham, all the nurses, dietitian Verity, pharmacist Andreanna, transplant nurse specialist Richard – I never doubted they would endeavour to keep Abi safe.”
Jo added: “At this stage we don’t know anything about the donor, other than they were young.
“Thank you, though, from the bottom of our hearts to the family, whoever they are, who made such a selfless decision at an impossibly heartbreaking time.”
Jo also appealed for people to support the aims of Organ Donation Week, which began on Monday.
She said: “The organ donor register for many is their only hope so, please, join the millions who have signed the register and told their family they want to be an organ donor.
“To lose a loved one is so tragically heartbreaking but we can reduce that heartbreak of the 400 people who die each year while waiting for their miracle match to be found.”
Abi suffers from a rare condition called Dense Deposit Disease which stops her kidneys filtering waste from her blood.