Mary gifts new life to husband David

February 6, 2017 Our People

MaryWhen Mary Freeman told husband David she had a very special 32nd wedding anniversary surprise for him, he could never have guessed the precious gift that she had in mind.

Mary presented him with the news that she had been given the all-clear to donate one of her kidneys and with it, the chance to give him a new lease of life. “He was pretty surprised. It was definitely my best ever present to him,” says Mary, a Chelmsford Processor for the past 26 years.

After two years of watching David undergo long hours of gruelling dialysis treatment three days a week, Mary knew she had to do whatever she could to help. “He had been on a donor waiting list, but I was worried because he was at high risk. He has had health complications after suffering diabetes for the past 47 years. I wanted to do something positive to help,” she says.

“I hardly had time to think or worry about going through with it. I’d read all about the risks, but I know you can survive fine with one kidney and I was happy to run the risk for David,” says Mary.

She underwent more than a year of rigorous tests and shed two stone to improve her own health. The news that she was a suitable match came just in time for that memorable anniversary celebration. She and David went ahead with their operations in June and neither has looked back since.

“There has been a complete change in David. He is so much improved and has a much better quality of life,” she says. “He has more energy, is happier and we’re actually getting stronger and fitter together.

“We go for lovely walks, something we could never do before. He is recovering so well he’s even started a carefully monitored exercise regime at the gym,” says Mary who, after a gentle phased return, started back to full time work this month.

“I’m feeling fine. I just have to monitor my health and lead a healthy lifestyle with a sensible diet and exercise. “I’m so grateful for all the support of iPSL and my colleagues and really enjoy being back at work.” Mary and David are looking forward to a wonderful dialysis-free Christmas at home, celebrating with daughters Rebecca and Nicola and granddaughter Grace. They are also making plans for next year.

“We are really looking forward to taking a holiday that doesn’t have to depend on being near to a UK hospital and will be taking all the family abroad for the first time for years,” she says. “We have so much to look forward to now.”

Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk for more information about organ donation.