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Around three million people in the UK have kidney disease

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Christy’s story

Christy’s story

Christy Millar’s life changed after her kidneys failed suddenly during a severe illness.

Christy Millar’s life changed after her kidneys failed suddenly during a severe illness. Two weeks after finishing her university exams, Christy collapsed in agony. At the hospital, she discovered that her appendix had burst, causing severe blood poisoning. She spent the next three months in intensive care.

Complications following the surgery resulted in a major infection and Christy’s kidneys completely failed.

She had to begin an exhausting dialysis routine immediately – three days out of every week.

Christy Millar

Christy’s hero

By Christy’s bedside the whole time was her boyfriend of two years, Steve. They had met at university and planned out their whole lives together. But now, it seemed, their future would be very different to the one they had imagined.

Desperate for Christy to be spared from the regular dialysis visits, which left her feeling so tired, Steve offered to donate one of his kidneys to her.

His blood was tested, and it turned out that not only were their personalities a perfect match, but their kidneys were, too.

Devastating news

After the operation, they woke up in side-by-side beds to a terrible shock. Steve’s kidney had worked for just 30 seconds before Christy’s body rejected it. They couldn’t believe this was happening to them.

Now they had just one functioning kidney between them. Christy was still desperately sick, and now Steve would be in hospital for weeks as well. They were crushed.

A long wait

Christy has been on the waiting list for three years now and just recently she got her first call to say that a kidney was available.

The hospital rang at 3 am and asked her to be there at 5:30 am. They told her not to eat or drink anything, so that she could be ready to go into the operating theatre.

At 7:30 am, a nurse came to explain to Christy that the donor kidneys had been checked over and weren’t considered viable for transplantation.

She had prepared herself for disappointment, knowing that this often happens. But at her next dialysis appointment, she burst into tears at the thought of being connected to the machine again. The staff there reassured and comforted her. They said that getting a call meant she was near the top of the list now and that there was a good chance she’d get another call soon.

"Every day I try to stay positive, hoping the call will come to say a kidney has become available." Christy Millar

While Christy waits, she is helping us to raise money to fund research. One of our research projects in particular has got Christy excited.

Could we regenerate damaged kidneys?

At the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Dr Hohenstein is developing a way to create new kidney cells in the lab. The technology involves reprogramming stem cells created from the patient’s own skin cells. Dr Hohenstein’s research may one day make it possible to regenerate a kidney using the patient’s own cells, making the transplant waiting list a thing of the past and ending kidney rejection.

We urgently need your support to continue funding life-saving research projects like this.

Our life-saving research is only possible with your support.

Save lives.

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