Mum gives son gift of life

MOTHER and son relationships are always special but that bond has a special resonance for Paul and Valerie Fox.The young Ipswich father is recovering from a landmark kidney transplant which will transform his life - and he has his mother to thank as she was the generous donor.

MOTHER and son relationships are always special but that bond has a special resonance for Paul and Valerie Fox.

The young Ipswich father is recovering from a landmark kidney transplant which will transform his life - and he has his mother to thank as she was the generous donor.

After watching Mr Fox spend the past two years waiting for a donor with no success - and undergoing a gruelling 11 hours of dialysis a day - she decided to put herself forward in a bid to give him the one thing which would change his life.

And there is an extra reason for Paul to get back to his Suffolk home fit and well - despite fears he would not be able to have children, the 31-year-old has a baby girl waiting for a proper play with her father.


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Still recovering after Tuesday's six-hour operation at Addenbrooke's Hopsital in Cambridge, mother and son told of their delight yesterday at the successful surgery and were both looking forward to the future.

Paul said he was worried when his mum said she would be a donor but now all he can think about is returning to his home in Ulster Avenue and spending time with his own child, 10-month-old Vanessa.

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He said: “Although I was shocked and worried about my mum when I first found out I could have the operation, it went well.

“Before I had the operation I felt tired all the time. Now, I'm looking forward to going home to see my little girl.”

Paul had led a fit and active life until two-and-a-half years ago when he was told one of his kidneys was useless - or redundant - and his second was undersized. The diagnosis meant he needed a transplant and had to have dialysis every day just to stay alive.

But he now has one of his mother's kidneys, with his own kidneys left in place.

Mrs Fox, from London, said she was thrilled when she learned she would be able to donate one of her kidneys.

She said: “Paul had problems with his hearing when he was young but nothing like this. He has always been into his sports and been fit and healthy.

“I was on holiday when I found out he needed a kidney transplant - I was really shocked. He was on the waiting list for two years and I just wanted him to get better - I read about family members making the best donors and said I would do it.

“It didn't take a lot of deciding - it was amazing to be able to give a kidney to my son.”

Professor Andrew Bradley, clinical director for transplant at Addenbrooke's, who operated on Paul, said he was delighted with how well the operation went but said Paul would now have to take powerful drugs to prevent rejection.

The operation marked the first time surgeons at Addenbrooke's have carried out 100 kidney transplants in a single year.

Professor Bradley said: “The number of kidney transplants here has been steadily increasing over the last few years and has now risen to this all time record high. Although the majority of kidneys for transplantation still come from deceased donors an increasing number are from living donors giving a kidney to friends or relatives.

“Organ donation is the ultimate gift and our work is only possible through the courage and generosity of donors and their families.”

Paul's partner, Debbie Haxley, said he had not wanted his mum to go through the operation but was told a family match would take better.

She said: “It has been very difficult for both of us. We met on the internet and in 2003 he moved to Ipswich to be with me.

“I used to be a nurse so could tell something was wrong, then when I took him to the doctors that same year we found out he needed a kidney transplant. It's been very hard for him.”

She said the best part of the transplant for Paul would be quality time with the youngster he thought he would never have: “The doctors said we wouldn't be able to have a baby because he was on dialysis - so we were delighted when I got pregnant with Vanessa.

“But I can't wait until he comes home - he will be able to hold Vanessa more now he is not on dialysis, as she used to pull the wires. He can't wait to see her.”

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