By Sophia Rahman
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Videographer / Director: Marcus Hessenberg
Producer: Sophia Rahman, James Thorne
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Sarah Lamont, from Ballymena, Northern Ireland has donated one of her kidneys to her youngest child Joe mere months after surgeons removed a section of her liver to save the boy’s life.
Doctors agreed to the risky procedure of putting the mum-of-three under the knife so soon after the liver transplant as Joe might have waited years for a donor kidney.
Sarah told Barcroft TV: “We waited for the call to come and it never did.
“Then I thought, ‘If I can give a lobe of my liver, and Joe can receive a kidney, why can I not give both?’
“I’m so glad that I can help my little boy. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Sarah, 37, said that before the first transplant Joe was so poorly with sepsis that doctors put an end of life plan in place for him.
She said: “That is an awful thing to deal with. We nearly lost him.”
Before his first birthday, Joe was diagnosed with two aggressive organ diseases – polycystic kidney disorder and congenital hypatic fibrosis, a form of liver disease.
Sarah said: “His kidneys were massively enlarged, taking up his whole abdomen, crushing his lungs and all his other organs. I was told that my baby wouldn’t survive.
“People see you with a bump and automatically go, ‘When are you due?’… I remember trying to go back to work for about a week after [I was told he wouldn’t survive] and I just couldn’t.”
Joe’s diseased kidneys were removed when he was just a few days old, and he has been on dialysis ever since.
Sarah said: “No matter what way you look at it, he’s still in hospital for four hours a day, on a machine, in a cot, so he’s missing a huge part of his life.”
Sarah donated a lobe of her liver to Joe in January 2017, and underwent the kidney transplant just seven months later, in August 2017.
Speaking before the kidney transplant, she said: “The next surgery shouldn’t be as big an ordeal for either of us as the liver.
“I remember five years ago, I never thought we would get to this day, and it would be a dream come true for my wee boy to ever get his organs, and now that day is so close and I can’t wait.”
Sarah’s second incredible gift to her son means Joe might for the first time live a life free of almost daily hospital visits and procedures, and be able to go to school.
For the transplant, Joe was taken into Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and Sarah admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
During the coordinated operation between the two hospitals, surgeons removed the kidney from Sarah as a courier waited to collect and transport the organ four miles via ambulance to surgeons ready to transplant it into Joe.
After several months recovering, Joe is the healthiest he’s ever been, and has even been able to go swimming for the first time in his life.
Sarah said: “He will be on medication for the rest of his life, but he no longer has lines in, and his quality of life has improved 100 percent. He’s hyper!
“I’m just so glad I was a match, because I think something would’ve happened if not. He could have died.
"But now we’re even hoping to go on holiday, which would be amazing for Joe and his big brother and sister.
“Joe is doing amazingly. He’s grown a lot and has so much energy now. You wouldn’t recognise him.”