Kidney transplant mother becomes friends with family of donor girl

PUBLISHED: 12:14 24 October 2015 | UPDATED: 12:14 24 October 2015

Gemma Sturge at home in King's Lynn with her two-year-old son Harley. Picture: Ian Burt

Gemma Sturge at home in King's Lynn with her two-year-old son Harley. Picture: Ian Burt


A west Norfolk mother who received a kidney transplant from a 12-year-old after she died has developed a special friendship with the young girl’s family.

Gemma Sturge, right, holding up a picture of Ashni Parmar with her mother, Kalpna. Picture submittedGemma Sturge, right, holding up a picture of Ashni Parmar with her mother, Kalpna. Picture submitted

Gemma Sturge, of Gaskell Way in King’s Lynn, received the life-saving transplant from Ashni Parmar, of Leicester, whose organs were donated after she suffered a blood clot on the brain.

After corresponding through letters, Mrs Sturge, who has a two-year-old son Harley, met Miss Parmar’s family last year and has vowed to make it a yearly reunion.

The 30-year-old, whose second baby boy is due in January, said: “It just felt right after all the letters we had been writing to each other and the photos we had been sending, it seemed like the next step to introduce Harley to them.”

Mrs Sturge, who was born with one kidney, said her kidney function fell to between six and eight percent before she received the vital donation in 2012.

How to join the donor register

Go to - and fill in an online form

Call on 0300 123 23 23

Text SAVE to 62323

You can also join when you:

Register for a driving licence

Apply for a Boots Advantage card

Register at a GP surgery

Register for a European Health Insurance card (EHIC)

After you have registered, you will be sent a donor card

It allowed her to have the family she had dreamed of.

“I can’t thank my prayers enough, they got answered basically and I feel so lucky in life. Everything has gone into place. To be expecting again - I thought I had one miracle, let alone to expect another.”

Mrs Sturge, who works as a bed manager at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, said she felt nervous about meeting the family of Miss Parmar after communicating as pen pals.

“Obviously there were a lot of tears to start with. It was emotional when they started crying when they saw me. We stopped crying eventually and we talked about our day to day lives,” she said.

Mrs Sturge said the parents of Miss Parmar, Paresh and Kalpna, sent presents for Harley on special occasions and when they met up they exchanged gifts.

The families now stay in contact via messages and videos on social media and the mother added they were going to try to meet up in autumn every year - around the same time as Harley’s birthday.

Mrs Sturge said she was being closely monitored during her second pregnancy in case of any complications.

She was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia when carrying Harley - something that was particularly dangerous due to her transplant less than two years before.

The mother added there had been some unrelated hiccups during her recent pregnancy but she felt she was in “safe hands” at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and was receiving support from her husband Gary who she said was her “rock”.

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