Two best friends from Eastbourne will undergo kidney surgery together after one of them has had a deteriorating kidney disorder for 25 years.
The pair signed up to the NHS ‘shared scheme’ which means if they are not a perfect match for a straight kidney swap with each other, they are on the list to meet another pair who fit the right criteria.
This type of surgery is called paired/pooled donation (PPD).
Kim Bryant-Butcher, 48, of Dillingburgh Road, and Abbie Lloyd-Bradford have been best friends since they met when they were 12-years-old at Willingdon School, and Abbie has offered to help Kim in her time of need.
Kim, an East Sussex adult social care worker, relies heavily on a dialysis machine - she used to visit Brighton hospital four times a week until she taught herself how to use the machine from home.
Kim said, “Abbie is doing it because of her love for me and I would do the same for her. It is special, I can never express how amazing this is.
“It will change my life, knowing I am going to get a kidney has given me a lot of hope.
“I feel incredibly honoured, overwhelmed and grateful. We are like sisters, I have got a huge love for her. It is the most amazing thing that another person can do for you.”
Kim said her disorder makes her very tired after work and it is difficult to plan family trips due to her dialysis machine dependency.
According to medical experts, some patients with this disorder need a dialysis machine or a kidney transplant to prevent kidney failure.
Kim said, “When your kidney function is deteriorating and you are on dialysis it can be quite scary.
“The transplant means I won’t be stuck on the dialysis machine anymore, my diet won’t be restricted, I can go on holiday without organising dialysis months in advance.”
The transplant has been in the pipeline for two years after the friends discussed it while Kim was on a medication trial.
Kim said, “A lot of people wait many years to have a kidney transplant. I’m really fortunate to have a friend who has been really eager and willing to donate hers.
“Abbie and her husband Mark as well as my family have been on this journey all the way with me and they have been brilliant.”
Kim said she wants to raise awareness of the positive outcomes of sharing a kidney and how well looked after both the patient and donor are during the process.
She said, “It will be really nice for me and my family not to be at hospital as much so we can just get on with our lives.”