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Just to be here...

I'm still here due to the generous gifts of my family.

I was born with reflux of both kidneys. I was always sick as a child, with infections, anaemia and high blood pressure.

When I was five years old I had corrective surgery in an attempt to fix this. Unfortunately the surgery was unsuccessful, and at the age of eleven, I became unwell. One kidney had died and needed to be removed, which meant surgery.

I fell pregnant at the age of 14 with my son. When the pregnancy was confirmed at three and a half months, I was sent straight to hospital for rest, right up until I gave birth.

My son was born one month early due to my remaining kidney beginning to fail.

I'll never forget my specialist saying 'You've really done it now', but despite this, my kidney continued to function and remained that way until I turned 22 and my kidney finally packed it in.

To cut a long story short I've had three kidney transplants in 20 years, all donated by members of my amazing family - my mum and two sisters. I come from a big family with eight brothers and sisters, two of which are identified as perfect matches for donor kidneys.

Sometimes I think to myself I don't know why they did it. I guess I truly would do the same if someone in my family needed a kidney and I was able to help. I think it's just what you do for your family.

If you are as lucky as me (and I do consider myself lucky) when people say 'you poor thing', I say back to them 'I'm very fortunate to have had the extra opportunities the kidney transplants have given me in life'. I know a lot of people who aren't as lucky as I am.

My baby boy is now 27 years old and is married. He and his partner may even have a baby themselves next year.

I'm still here due to the generous gifts of my family.


Nicky Burton