Leeds family is reunited for Christmas after being forced to live apart during pandemic to protect their son

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A family will be reunited for Christmas after spending 10 months apart to protect their son who has had two kidneys donated to him by his parents.

Akash Suryavansi, now 22, has been beset by problems caused by kidney failure since he was born as a premature twin baby.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started to sweep Britain in March this year, the family decided it would be safer for Akash to live apart as his mother, Tina, who gave her son one of her kidneys back in 2004, was working on the front line in the A&E departments at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital.

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Fearful of bringing COVID back to the family home in Weetwood, it was agreed that Tina, 51, would move out.

The  Suryavansi  family at their Christmas home in Moortown, Leeds.The  Suryavansi  family at their Christmas home in Moortown, Leeds.
The Suryavansi family at their Christmas home in Moortown, Leeds.
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Aky told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It was difficult for her. There were times when she was alone at night, I would speak to her while she was in bed and stay on the line until she fell asleep and when she did, I would turn my phone off and go to sleep.

“She could not stand being by herself so we took the decision to put my daughter in there with her as she had left university and was looking for a job.”

When lockdown restrictions eased slightly in summer, the two halves of the family would see each other - socially distanced - for coffee in the garden.

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The Suryavansi family. L-R, Akash, mum Tina, Denish his twin and dad Aky.The Suryavansi family. L-R, Akash, mum Tina, Denish his twin and dad Aky.
The Suryavansi family. L-R, Akash, mum Tina, Denish his twin and dad Aky.

Tina and daughter, Denish, would leave and Aky would bleach the furniture.

He said: “We were at that level. If Akash got the virus it could have been critical. The most we ever did was walk the dog around the block and cross the road if we saw someone.”

Akash and his twin sister Denish were born in June 1998. Denish was healthy but for Akash, his kidneys had not formed and at just a few weeks old, he was on dialysis. By the time he was six-years-old he had had 20 operations and the next option was a kidney transplant, with his mum Tina being the donor.

Five years ago, Akash’s body started rejecting the kidney and attacking it. His health, which also includes asthma and diabetes, deteriorated and the solution was a second transplant.

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The operation, using a kidney donated by Aky, took place in November 2015 but Akash suffered a massive stroke which affected the mobility of his right side and his speech.

He is on the road to recovery but is still at high risk.

Aky said: “People think when you have a kidney transplant it is fine but that is not the situation. If your body rejects it, there is nothing you can do. Some people can have them for 40 years, some reject it within weeks. He is smiling and breathing and that is the way we have to look at it.”

To date, Akash has had around 60 operations, but right now the family are looking to Christmas and the future beyond.

Aky has rented a five bedroomed house with an annexe and separate bathroom for Akash. It means the family can live together again but maintain social distancing.

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Tina said: “There was a point where we couldn’t find suitable accommodation. I gave up and thought I won’t see him until next year.

“It has taken a little bit of adjusting to. I go to our old house to shower (after work) before coming back to the house but we are doing the best we can.

“People might think we are going above and beyond but he was six when he got his first transplant and ended up with lots of complications. When that failed in 2015, then he had a brain hemorrhage. Our worries were if I took it (COVID) home and put him at risk, I would not be able to live with myself.”

After ten months of living away from each other they moved back in together last week and are getting ready for a family Christmas.

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Aky said: “Christmas is coming and it is not nice to have the family split in two. There is enough room for us to keep our distance but be in the same property. If this is what we have to do to get the family together and get some normality as such, I don’t care what it costs as long as my family is together and safe.

“Christmas is going to be a good one, we will be having the full works and all the trimmings. It was fantastic to have the family together, we were all elated. At the same time it was ten months that we have missed as a family and in our lives but, we are together and that is all that matters.”

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