'I just want to save his life' says wife who is million to one match for husband's kidney transplantTransplant will be end of two-year struggle for couple
Darren Woodburn is just one of 6,500 in the North West awaiting a new kidney
17:02 GMT, 29 March 2012
A devoted wife is giving her husband the gift of life, after she was found to be a million to one match for a kidney transplant.
Nina Woodburn of Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, said she was ‘over the moon’ when doctors told her she could donate one of her own kidneys to her husband Darren who has been on kidney dialysis for several years after his original kidney transplant failed
Darren, 42, who first had his first kidney transplant
when he was 20 described Nina as the light at the end of his tunnel.
He said: 'I’m one of the lucky ones, there are
people who have been going into
clinics for years with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Devoted couple: Nina Woodburn will give husband Darren the gift of life, after she was found to be a million-to-one match for a kidney transplant
It has been a two-year struggle for
the couple, who have had to undergo a series of tests to triple-check
that they would be a safe match.
Nina said it had been ‘really hard’ to watch her husband’s health deteriorate during that time.
'I just want to save his life, I want him back to what he was like when I married him,' said the 33-year-old.
Finding a match was difficult for Darren because this will be his second kidney transplant.
His first transplanted kidney lasted for two decades, but now Darren's health is deteriorating rapidly, with a
loss of energy and a daily restriction on what he can eat and drink.
Gruelling: Darren Woodburn is one of 6,500 people who have to be attached to a kidney dialysis machine like this one every week as they desperately wait for a kidney transplant
While waiting for the transplant, Darren continues to undergo gruelling dialysis sessions which take a full day once a week.
Nina says that before the weekly treatments his mood
and energy levels make it a struggle to even get out of bed.
she said: 'Darren doesn’t want me to do it because he doesn’t want me to go through what he has but I just want to him back.'
Now the couple are appealing for more people to join the organ donor register (ODR) in a bid to help the 6,500 people who are desperately waiting for a new kidney in the North West of England where last year only 19 transplants were completed.
Helping others: Nina and Darren Woodburn hope that highlighting their story will encourage others to sign up to the organ donor register
'I feel so lucky that I can do this for my husband,' said Nina. 'If I had 100 kidneys I would give each of them away. If people saw what living with the illness was like then I think everyone would join the register.'
Darren is allowed just 900ml a day to drink and so gets very dehydrated.
He has also developed a renal bone disorder which has meant he has had to have a hip replacement.
The couple now hope they will be called to the Royal Manchester Infirmary for the surgery as early as May or June.
When the operation is over Darren and Nina say they are really looking forward to a trip abroad, a luxury they have not been able to enjoy for years.
Darren also said he was excited about eating a bowl of cereal with lots of milk.
'It’s the simple things you really miss,” he said. “It’s like putting your life on hold.'
Fiona Biggins, live donor co-ordinator at the Royal Preston Hospital, said that in the last 12 months there had been a ‘plateau’ of people coming forward to join either the ODR or live transplant scheme in the North West.
She added: “Even if people are not compatible with a person they want to help with there are other ways of donating.'
Donors and recipients can be matched up with people all around the country.