Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Best Friend Saved My Life with Her Gift of a Kidney

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Best Friend Saved My Life with Her Gift of a Kidney

Article excerpt


AS best friends since school, they were used to making the odd sacrifice for one another.

But for Alexandria Turner no favour was too great when Kirsty Ferguson suffered kidney failure - so she gave her one of her own.

Ms Ferguson, 34, was diagnosed with Bergers disease, a kidney disorder manageable with medication, six years ago.

But when she and her husband Jim Pank, 37, decided to have a baby, her life took a downturn.

When she was 20 weeks pregnant in September 2004, Ms Ferguson was told her kidney function was deteriorating. Eight weeks later, she had an emergency Caesarean at Kingston Hospital.

Baby Freddy was born weighing less than 2lb and was put on a ventilator. But for his mother things were much worse.

She began suffering from severe water retention-ballooning from nine to 12 stone, and ended up in intensive care suffering from kidney failure.

Ms Ferguson, from East Horsley, Surrey, spent the next few months going to St George's Hospital in Tooting for four hours of dialysis treatment three times a week.

Exhausted after treatment, she would spend the rest of the time with Freddy, who remained in an incubator in hospital for three months.

She said: "I went from having a perfectly manageable condition to having a line in my neck for the dialysis and being away from my baby. It was probably the hardest time of the entire nightmare."

In March last year, after her condition worsened, Ms Ferguson was put on the transplant list. It was more than a year later that her best friend offered her a kidney. Ms Turner, 34, a plastic surgeon from Balham, got herself screened without her friend's knowledge so she could surprise her with the news.

Ms Ferguson said: "One day I got a phone call from Alex saying we had to meet at George's Hospital. …

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