Life after a kidney transplant - Claire's story 20 years on from dad's donation
PUBLISHED: 08:26 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 20 May 2019
SUPPLIED BY FAMILY
It is nearly two decades since this brave dad put his own life at risk to save his daughter's - and now the pair are sharing their story to inspire hope in others.
Claire Rogers, who lives in Ipswich, is happy, healthy and thriving in her job as an assistant manager thanks to the ultimate gift of a kidney from dad Paul 20 years ago.
Next month, on June 4, Claire and her family will be marking the poignant anniversary of his selfless act.
Now 40 and living in Suffolk with partner Matt, she wants to share her story to bring hope to others battling similar conditions.
"Life is a wonderful gift and we must cherish every moment," she said. "Thanks to my family, I'm able to enjoy so much.
"Every year on the 4th of June we have a celebration.
"Giving someone your kidney is the most selfless act you can undertake - and I cannot thank my parents enough for their love, support and generosity over the years.
"This 20-year celebration of the operation we will be celebrating as a family and remembering what an amazing act it was on the 4th June 1999."
Bubbly teenager Claire was working part time as a waitress back in November 1996 - but one day at work she was struck down by mysterious, flu-like symptoms.
Her illness initially puzzled doctors, but when she started to develop swollen ankles and feel tired all the time blood tests pointed to kidney problems.
Further assessments revealed she was suffering from a degenerative, incurable form of kidney disease which would eventually lead to total kidney failure. Claire's dad and mum Sandra offered theirs - but Paul's was the best match.
"I never wavered about giving Claire my kidney. It's one of those things that of course you'll do for your child and the donation hasn't left any lasting health issues. And I get to boast about my huge abdominal scar," said Paul, who is now 63.
However, it wasn't all plain sailing and medics battled to save Claire's life in September 1999 after her body rejected the transplant.
She was critically ill but a revolutionary drug changed her fortunes - and she has not been back to hospital since the terrifying ordeal.
Each year more than 1,000 people donate a kidney to a relative or friend, or even to someone they don't know, according to Kidney Care UK which has supported the Rogers family over the years.
"Claire's story really highlights the life-changing impact that living kidney donation and transplantation can have," said Paul Bristow, acting chief executive.
"Paul's donation has given Claire 20 years of incredible memories and given her the opportunity to live life to the full."
To find out more, visit the Kidney Care UK website.