A Rothienorman woman who received a kidney transplant in 2017 after being matched with an altruistic donor has spoken of how it transformed her life.
Rachel Hall, who was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2009, has backed a drive to raise awareness of the importance of living kidney donation, after being freed from her life on dialysis.
Since 2009, 78 people have altruistically donated a kidney in Scotland.
Rachel’s kidneys failed after a sudden and unexplained illness resulted in her being hospitalised.
Rachel said: “I took really ill overnight and was ambulanced to hospital in Aberdeen. After two weeks of tests to find out what was going on, I was told my kidney function had gone. I struggled to believe it and refused to go on dialysis. I just wanted out of there, but it hit home when the doctors explained that without it, I would die.”
Initially dialysis involved a 60-mile round trip to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where the treatment took four hours, three times a week, before Rachel moved to a unit in Inverurie.
Determined that her illness wasn’t going to rule her life, Rachel took a job as a cleaner in her local school, working every day and after her treatment to maintain normality for her, daughter Chirlene and partner Colin.
Rachel said: “Once I got my head round what had happened, I accepted it and just got on with things. I’m a positive person and wasn’t going to lie down to being ill, which is why I took on the cleaning job.
“I was on the transplant waiting list for three years, but my blood type made me difficult to match.”
Describing the day she got the call that a living kidney donor had been found, Rachel said: “I couldn’t believe it. The surgery went ahead not long after I got the news and even the doctors said how surprised they were at how well everything went.
“The change to my life has been unbelievable. Apart from feeling so much better, I don’t have to worry about dialysis, we can plan things and go on holiday.
“I was so happy to turn 51 and I can’t wait to see 52. Every day is a gift, and it’s thanks to the person that saved my life. I know nothing about them, but I did write a letter and pass it to the transplant co-ordinator so they would know I was doing well, and just how grateful I was.
“I bless that person and their family every single day. It is truly the most wonderful gift you could ever give to someone and I say well done and god bless every day when I think about them and what they have done for me.”