‘I gave a kidney to mystery woman – and her husband gave one to my wife’

Karen and Paul Creasy from Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, who had a paired organ transplant. Photo: NNUH

Karen and Paul Creasy from Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, who had a paired organ transplant. Photo: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

As swap deals go, this one was out of the ordinary.

For when Paul Creasy gave one of his kidneys to a mystery woman, her husband returned the favour - by giving one of his to Mr Creasy's wife.

Ten years on from the extraordinary 'paired transplant', Mr Creasy and his wife Karen, from Thorpe St Andrew, have told how the deal has given her a second chance at life.

Mrs Creasy, 63, a hairdresser, and Mr Creasy, 57, a cardiology project manager at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), underwent the paired transplant in 2008 when he donated one of his kidneys to a woman from London, and her husband donated one to Mrs Creasy.

Mrs Creasy, whose husband's kidney was not compatible for her, benefited from laws introduced in 2006 allowing live donations from strangers.

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She said: 'In the months prior to my transplant, I was just existing not living - I was tired and depressed and carrying out simple day-to-day tasks got more and more difficult.

'I was 17 when I was told I had a nephrotic syndrome – a form of kidney damage which I had been born with and which we believe runs in my family.'

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She was 51 when she started haemodialysis and joined the transplant list. The couple looked into paired transplants.

Mr Creasy said: 'At the time, this option was a relatively new one for those on the transplant list. I knew that I wasn't a match with Karen, but there was a chance there was another couple in a similar situation to us and who could be the perfect match.'

Mrs Creasy was on dialysis for two years before they got a call to say a suitable couple had been found. She said: 'I remember the day of the transplant very well. We'd got to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, and Paul went into surgery very early in the morning. They then transported Paul's kidney by car down to London.'

Mr Creasy was in hospital for five days, whilst his wife stayed in longer, until Christmas Day 2008.

She said: 'The transplant was the best Christmas present I could ever had hoped for and I am so grateful to Paul for going through it all for me. I'm also very grateful to the other couple involved in the paired transplant.'

? For more information visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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