Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Woman gives ex-husband her kidney five years after their divorce

Five years after their divorce, Dan Pyatt and ex-wife Kelly Hope had the most important disagreement of their lives.

As he lay in Guy’s Hospital, with his kidneys failing and no donor after 12 months on the waiting list, she told him: “I’m going to get tested for a transplant.”

Kelly Hope recalls: “He said to me, ‘I can’t ask you to do that’. But I told him, ‘It’s not up to you. It’s my decision. I know what the risks are and I’m doing it.’

“Even though we weren’t together any more, I wasn’t prepared to let my children be without a father.

"And Dan is only 44 – he’s got so much more life to lead.”

Dan and Kelly had begun dating at 18 and married 13 years later in 2007 – but less than a year later Dan fell ill with an aggressive type of kidney disease.

Expecting their second daughter, the pair were warned that in 10 years he would need a transplant.

“There were no kidney problems in Dan’s family, he was just unlucky,” says Kelly, 43. “He was always tired and had flu-like symptoms and headaches , but he’s a London taxi driver so at first we put it down to overwork.

"Then on a weekend to Bournemouth when I was pregnant in 2008 he was so unwell he couldn’t get out of the hotel room.”

They went to A&E where a urine sample showed a high level of blood and he was admitted for more tests.

“They couldn’t work out what was wrong. They were talking about leukaemia. We were terrified,” says Kelly.

“Then a consultant thought it might be kidney-related, so Dan was transferred to Guy’s for a biopsy and diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in both kidneys, a build-up of protein which inflames and damages tissue.”

The couple were told there was no cure, but Dan was given medication to protect his kidneys and they made changes to his diet and lifestyle.

He returned regularly to Guy’s to be monitored until, in September 2017, he was told his kidney function had fallen to just 8% and he was put on dialysis and on a deceased donor waiting list.

Sadly, by now their marriage had broken down.

“There was no one else involved, we just weren’t getting on any more, even though we tried and tried,” says Kelly.

“We had different priorities, life pressures, work patterns. I was a PA at the time and Dan was a taxi driver so we were like ships in the night.

“We didn’t just walk away, but in the end we realised we couldn’t keep going around in circles.

"It was making the atmosphere at home horrible. It wasn’t healthy for the children, so we both decided it would be best to separate.”

Kelly stayed in the family home in Bromley, South East London, with daughters Billie and Jeanie, while Dan moved into a flat nearby.

But they were determined not to lose the friendship they’d had since childhood.