My best man was a perfect match! Groom's friend donates life-saving kidney to bride
A bride who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant is looking forward to married life after the best man at her wedding was found to be the perfect match.
Leanne Stefanovic, 31, needed dialysis for nine hours every day and was constantly tired after suffering kidney failure for the past four years.
But now, she is recovering after a successful transplant in Leeds thanks to her new husband's best friend Stuart Kilgannon, 39, who donated one of his kidneys.
Special bond: Stuart Kilgannon and Leanne Stefanovic following the successful kidney transplant
Stuart was best man when Leanne married Shaun Stefanovic, 37, in Cyprus, last year.
Leanne said: 'I feel normal again. I didn't think I would feel this good so quickly.
'I have got a lot to thank Stuart for.'
Leanne, of Hull, East Yorkshire, has had kidney disease for most of her life and was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2007.
Without a kidney transplant, she said she would continue to struggle physically and without dialysis, she would die.
Leanne's husband Shaun and other family members were tested and were not a match for her.
Stuart, of Beverley, was – and the transplant took place at St James's Hospital in Leeds on Tuesday.
Recovery: Leanne, pictured at St James's Hospital, Leeds, is hoping to further her studies in law after graduating from the University Of Hull in July last year
Stuart has picked up a chest infection this week and is in pain, but was expected to be allowed home from hospital this weekend.
He said: 'It's hard to describe, but it's a fantastic feeling.
'I've seen Leanne and she looks ten years younger. Her kidney function is better than mine. To see how she looks is unbelievable.'
Leanne will be in hospital for up to two weeks.
Although she will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life, it is hoped she will never need dialysis again.
Leanne is now hoping to further her studies in law after graduating from the University Of Hull in July last year and also start a family.
Treatment: Before the transplant, Leanne needed dialysis for nine hours every day
Shaun said he does not know where to begin to repay his best friend for helping his wife.
He said: 'I feel overwhelming emotion. I saw Stuart afterwards and cried with him.
'He was groggy and high as a kite on morphine, but he just said 'start living life'.
'I can't express in words what he has done for us. How can you repay someone for doing that for your wife He is my hero.'
Stuart's wife, Debbie Kilgannon, 43, said she is incredibly proud of her husband.
She said: 'Stuart is in a lot of pain, but his spirits are good and we are all really pleased.
'It's so far, so good. It's a really healthy and large kidney.
'It was a great relief to see Leanne looking an awful lot better than she was.
'It's an outstanding gift of life that he's given. I'm really proud of him.'
Julie Hill, renal living donor co-ordinator at Hull And East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said she is delighted Leanne and Stuart are recovering well and he was found to be a match.
She said: 'It is a fantastic opportunity that a friend has come forward.
'With live donation in general, we tend to look at anybody now, not just relatives. We can look at partners, husbands, wives, friends and colleagues.
'I'm absolutely over the moon for Leanne.
'She is a wonderful girl, really motivated and she did really well on dialysis.
'This is good for her future.'
Leanne will continue to be monitored by nursing and medical staff at Hull Royal Infirmary when she is discharged from hospital in Leeds.
People can survive on dialysis for many years, with transplant as another treatment option. Howev-er, Julie said: 'It's better for people's health, wherever possible, for them to have a transplant.'