Lucy Humphrey might only have a few years to live when she took a trip to the beach with her partner and their two dogs.
But thanks to a chance meeting with a stranger «chosen» by one of his pets, he saved her life.
After living for more than a decade and a half with lupus, a condition that causes inflammation in the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and joints, her kidneys began to fail.
Despite dialysis, in 2019 he was told that without a transplant, his life could be extended by only about five years.
Shortly before that, Lucy, 44, and her partner Cenydd Owen, 49, both from Caerphilly, a county in Wales, bought a campervan to take their dogs, two Dobermans named Jake and Indie, for weekend walks. week.
But plans to use it were put on hold because he had to undergo treatment.
change of beach
He had planned a two-day break in Aberystwyth, another town in Wales, in June 2021, four and a half years after Lucy suffered kidney failure.
But she was too ill to travel so far. So instead, she decides to go to the nearest Cold Knap beach in Barry, South Wales.
Lucy and Cenydd parked their motorhome in front of the beach and prepared a barbecue accompanied by their dogs.
«Indie walked up to this woman who was about a hundred yards away,» Lucy says.
«She kept going back and forth to where she was and we were calling her over and over again to come back to where we were, because obviously a big Doberman can be a little intimidating.»
«We thought she had food or something and Cenydd kept calling her. We ended up going to apologize to her.»
«To Anyone Who Wants It»
The stranger was Katie James, a 40-year-old woman from Barry.
She was sitting on the beach knitting, crocheting, and it turned out she didn’t care if Indie got close to her.
«Actually, she was having a pretty rough time, so I invited her to our cookout,» Lucy says.
«He came over and brought a drink and offered me some.»
«Cenydd explained to him that I couldn’t drink because I was on dialysis. And she asked, ‘oh, what’s that for,’ and he said he was waiting for a kidney transplant.»
Shocked, Katie told them, «I just entered the kidney donation registry!»
«Who are you going to donate your kidney to?» Cenydd asked.
«Anyone who wants it,» Katie replied.
Katie and Lucy exchange numbers and contact a donor coordinator the next day.
«She did all the tests and it turned out she was a perfect match (to match Lucy),» she says.
«A surgeon told us there’s a 1 in 22 million chance of finding the perfect match, and that’s what I needed because I have lupus.»
«It took a bit of time for the transplant to take place, as the situation with the covid was happening at the time, so it kept putting off.»
In the previous period, Katie created a group on WhatsApp called The Kidney Gang.
«He kept us posted on all his hospital visits, he was sending us voice messages and photos,» Cenydd recalls.
«I still have all the recordings and how excited she was that she was doing something good. It’s because just crazy, an absolute stranger and Lucy got her life back.»
«For the last five years, I couldn’t drink anything (alcoholic) and was limited in what I could eat. Now, you can eat and drink whatever you want and we are starting to get our normal lives back.»
Despite complications in the first few weeks after the procedure, Lucy said the transplant, which took place on October 3, 2022 at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, was a success.
«We went in together on Sunday, and on Monday morning they took us down, took my kidney out, and put it in Lucy…and voila!» says Katie.
«I feel very lucky to have met Lucy, I know that she stands out and that she is living her life. For me, there has been nothing negative at all.»
«I’m very proud of myself, sometimes I’m embarrassed, even though every time I go out with my grandmother, she says to a stranger: ‘My granddaughter donated a kidney.'»
«It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m very proud of myself and my family is proud of me.»
“It was the fact that Indie almost discovered it and removed it,” says Lucy.
«I was told a few years ago that I only had about five years to live, (because) dialysis doesn’t work forever and there’s a limit to the number of treatments they can give you.»
«I really needed this transplant, I had been on the waiting list for several years. My life has already completely changed.»
Cenydd described Katie as a «wonderful and selfless person».
However, he said: «She doesn’t like my jokes, and she said if I don’t stop telling her, she wants her kidney back.»
«We ended up going to Barry’s by chance, meeting Katie by chance, and Lucy ended up with a kidney.»
«We want to show that there is always hope for people. Never give up, because you never know, we weren’t even going to go to the beach that day. There are a lot of good people out there.»
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BBC-NEWS-SRC: IMPORT DATE: 2023-04-24 12:50:06