Mum saves son by donating kidney

Craig Clark (left) shortly after recieving a kidney from mum Zandra James (right)

by Ben Glass
January 15, 2009

A MOTHER has successfully donated a kidney to her son thanks to revolutionary treatment at a Coventry hospital.

Craig Clark, 29, was seriously ill following three failed kidney transplants.

But now the management consultant is on the road to recovery following an operation at University Hospital, Walsgrave.

His mother Zandra donated a kidney and expert doctors carried out two hi-tech treatments.

Firstly they washed anti-bodies that could reject the new kidney out of his blood before the operation.

Secondly they gave him a £10,000 dose of Eculizumab – new drug that reduces organ rejection.

Craig said: “I had my first transplant when I was about 11 years old but the latest one, which was of a kidney donated by my mother, has been the best yet.

“Words cannot express how I feel about my mother donating one of her kidneys for me. And the service I have received at University Hospital, Coventry, has been second to none.

“About a month after my transplant, which was in October, I was given a single dose of the new drug which has helped to reduce the rejection that I was undergoing at the time and I had no side effects.

“So far I am much better than after my last transplant 10 years ago, when I had a major reaction to one of the drugs I had to take to reduce the chance of rejection.”

Delighted mother Zandra, of Baswich Lane, Stafford, said: “It has been challenging at times, over the years, to see my son Craig have to go through dialysis and transplants because he was born with very small kidneys.

“I had wanted to donate a kidney for him 10 years ago but the technology wasn't so well advanced then, so I couldn't

“Now I've done it - and, although the recovery from the surgery is tough going, overall it's a joy to know I have given new hope for my son in the years to come.”

Craig Clark (left) thanks University Hospital renal consultant Dr Rob Higgins
University Hospital renal consultant Dr Rob Higgins leads a team researching different ways to further reduce the risk of donor rejection.

He said: “It is quite a big thing for anyone to donate one of their organs for someone else and is usually done by a family member or, sometimes, a friend. It shows a lot of love.”

Dr Higgins said this is the first time Eculizumab has been used in Europe following kidney transplants - and Craig is one of just two patients to try it.

He added: “The use of Eculizumab requires further careful evaluation in clinical trials before we are sure about how safe and effective it is in transplant patients - but the early results are promising.

“It has been used extensively in other conditions, where it has a good safety record.”

Anyone wanting to ensure their organs are put to use after death can join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

A web link from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust's website - - has generated 1,654 visits to the organ donor website, resulting in almost 300 people signing on to the national register.

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