Naomi’s Story…

Naomi will need a matched kidney donor from either a living or deceased donor. Find out more on how you can become a living donor here

Imagine a young child finding their mother lifeless on the kitchen floor, with the flame of the stove still burning in the background as the evening meal is being prepared. This is the reality of Naomi, a 37-year-old single Mum of two, whose 11-year-old daughter found her collapsed in their kitchen in 2015.

Naomi says “I remember not feeling particularly well earlier that day, but like most mothers with 101 things to do, I soldiered on, focusing on the many tasks I needed to get done. Cooking dinner was one of them.”
Naomi was immediately rushed by ambulance to her local hospital. It is her belief had it not been for her daughter finding her, she’s sure she wouldn’t be alive today to share her story.

Naomi was told without the rapid treatment she received on arrival at the hospital, she would have indeed lost her life. “I was given powerful steroids that left me feeling drowsy for the best part of three days. After I started to come down off the drugs, I was told – my kidneys failed. It turns out I had been suffering from an Acute Kidney Injury.” For the next eight days, Naomi remained in the hospital to receive treatment so that she could make a full recovery.

Three years later (February 2018), Naomi received a routine check-up at Moorfields Eye Hospital which detected she had elevated blood glucose. Doctors confirmed they needed to do further investigations to find out the cause.

Naomi said “Over the coming days I began to experience an unquenchable thirst like I’ve never experienced before. I also experienced fatigue that left me feeling exhausted much earlier in the day than I would normally expect. I’d not changed anything in my routine. I was working full-time shifts, but something was different. My limbs felt as though something was weighing them down. Something was happening. Several months passed with no improvements. I was also experiencing an inflammation that wasn’t abating – this too lasted several months.”

After a series of ‘routine blood tests’ at the request of her GP, Naomi received the results a few days before her 37th birthday on October 4th. Naomi was sat on a bus, on route for another GP appointment. Naomi says “The only words I remember from the conversation were ‘…under 15 percent function…’

Naomi had been diagnosed with Kidney Failure or as she interpreted it at the time, “End Stage Renal Failure.” Immediately all her hopes, dreams and aspirations which she had hoped to see through to fruition, laid shattered on the floor of her mind.
“My thoughts started racing as question upon question darted back and forth through my mind. What’s going to happen to my children? How am I going to tell the children?! So many questions, I could feel myself starting to well up, eyes blurred with tears, it’s a moment that will live with me forever.”

Soon after, Naomi was urgently referred to be enrolled into the Organ Transplant Program in the hope a matched kidney donor could be found to save her life and give back to her the quality of life she had previously as a loving mother to her two children.

Become a living donor

Across the UK, more than 1,000 people each year donate organs while they are still alive to a relative, friend or someone they do not know.

The most commonly donated organ by a living person is a kidney. A healthy person can lead a normal life with only one functioning kidney and therefore they are able to donate the other to help someone in need of a kidney transplant. Part of a liver can also be transplanted from a living donor to help someone in need of a liver transplant.

Why do we need more living organ donors?

In the UK, around 5,000 people are in need of a kidney transplant to transform their lives, and hundreds of patients die each year waiting for a transplant due to a shortage of organ donors.

The average waiting time for a kidney transplant from someone who has died is more than two and a half years. For some ethnic groups and people for whom it is difficult to find a compatible donor, the wait is even longer. Sadly, some people die waiting.

Naomi will need a matched kidney donor from either a living or deceased donor. Find out more on how you can become a living donor here