Kidney transplant recipient
Jackie Blanchfield from Leeds, received a life-changing kidney transplant aged 25.
In 1989, after suffering with high blood pressure, doctors found out that Jackie had one kidney that was far smaller than normal and another that wasn’t functioning properly. She was told that, eventually, the malfunctioning kidney would stop working all together. That fateful day came in 1993 when Jackie was rushed to hospital with flu-like symptoms. Within just a week her condition had deteriorated, and she was put on emergency dialysis.
Jackie’s job as an account secretary was almost in jeopardy, until her bosses made allowances for her illness. She was allowed an extended lunch break and to carry a pager which would alert her if an organ became available.
“I had to factor my dialysis into everyday life. I had to be prepared, follow a strict diet and ensure I kept to my regime”, says Jackie.
“Then, on December 30th 1995, my pager beeped at around 6am in the morning. They’d found me a kidney! My parents took me down to St James’s University Hospital where I underwent some final tests whilst the kidney was transported down from Scotland.”
Having the transplant has meant that Jackie could fulfil her goal in life – to become a mum – something she didn’t know would be an option to her following her treatment and surgery. When Jackie fell pregnant with her daughter, Hollie, doctors were unsure whether Jackie would be able to carry her to full term but, after performing a C section, her first child was born.
Jackie is now a full time carer for her son Jacob and considers her children the most important thing to her.
“I don’t do things by halves. After Hollie was born, I went on to have my twins Jacob and Abigail and now I can’t imagine life without them.”