Policeman donates kidney to his sister at the Royal Free in time for Christmas
PUBLISHED: 15:24 23 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:35 23 December 2016
A brother has given the ultimate Christmas and New Year's gift to his sister, by donating one of his kidneys at the Royal Free Hospital
Metropolitan Police officer Tristan Hunter, 32, bravely donated his kidney to his 38-year-old sister, Amy Hennessey, the mother of twins and a primary school teacher.
The brother and sister were operated on by the pioneering team at the Royal Free, who carry out around 120 transplants a year.
Ms Hennessey, who has two 10-year-old boys, Freddie and Alfie, suffered reflux as a baby, which badly damaged her kidneys.
Her kidney function has deteriorated over the years and when she was pregnant, she had to have her twin boys delivered at 29 weeks.
Without a transplant, Ms Hennessey would have needed to go on a dialysis programme.
Her brother donated his kidney in a gruelling nine-hour operation.
The Royal Free shared real-time updates from the operating theatre on social media site Twitter this week. Following the surgery, in November, both siblings are recovering well and spent a family Christmas together,
Ms Hennessey said: “I am completely overwhelmed by what Tristan has done.
She added: “I feel amazing – I can’t remember when I felt this well. I’ve got more energy, I just feel so much healthier.”
Before the operation, different members of the family were tested to see if their tissue types matched – and the two siblings were a perfect match.
Mr Hunter wanted to have the procedure before his first child was born, who is due in March.
He said: “I knew that I wanted to do it, but I did start to feel nervous the closer we got to the operation – it started to hit home...I thought it was going to be really painful, but it wasn’t too bad and the doctors and staff were amazing.”
Surgeon Colin Forman performed the key hole surgery on Mr Hennessey to remove the kidney and surgeon Bimbi Fernando then performed the transplant on Ms Hennessey.
Mr Fernando said: “We are desperately short of organ donors, three people a day are dying on the UK transplant list of all types of organ failure.
“It’s essential we open our donor pool.”
Mr Forman said he finds it very rewarding to see patients who are completely “transformed” after receiving transplants.