Families speak of greatest gift

THEY'VE given the greatest gift of all.

THEY'VE given the greatest gift of all.

Deciding to give up an essential organ to save the lives of their loved ones came instinctively to both Jan Goulding from Kesgrave and Ken Albon from Ipswich.

There was no question of them not stepping up to the mark when their families most needed it, despite the obvious risks to their own health.

Mr Albon's wife Diane, of Reynolds Road, Gainsborough, has made a speedy recovery following her transplant operation last year.

This week the pair, who had organised a fundraising event, handed over a generous donation to the two hospitals that carried out their treatment.

Mrs Goulding said she just did whatever any other mother would when it was decided that her daughter, Abigail, needed the lifesaving treatment.

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Since the operation in March, Mrs Goulding, of The Woolnoughs, has already completed a charity fun run and has plans for even more later this year.

Abigail, now 15, had suffered from Cystinosis -a rare genetic disorder of the renal tubes-since birth. After continuous treatment, it was finally decided she needed a kidney transplant.

When Mrs Goulding found she was a positive match following a test, she was admitted to Guy's Hospital in London to have one of her kidneys removed. As soon as the organ was taken out, it was rushed over via a transplant shuttle bus to be placed into Abigail who was at the Evelina Children's Hospital a few miles away.

Mrs Goulding, 47, who recently completed this year's Race for Life in a faster time than previously, said: “Abigail has still got the condition, which affects the kidneys first and foremost. Before the transplant, she was suffering from renal failure. We always knew a transplant was in the background.

“Abigail and I were in different hospitals so it was very difficult. I was worried about her. When you're in that position, your overriding concern is for your child-not yourself.

“My husband Ivan stayed with her and I had a friend with me. I did not want him going between two hospitals.

“Every mother I know would have done the same thing. There was no decision to make.”

Abigail, who is in year ten at Kesgrave High School, said: “I feel a lot better now. I missed my mum because she was in a different hospital. I think she was brilliant to do that for me.”

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Mrs Albon, 58, had trouble with her kidneys for nine years and was put on a dialysis machine two years ago.

She said: “I was on dialysis and going up to see the doctors regularly. It was Ken who said asked to take the test to see if he could give me one of his kidneys. I have got a son and daughter and they were willing to do the test too. I wouldn't let them though.

“We went in to hospital in March last year. He went down to have the operation at 8.45am and then I went down at 10.30am. I was in for seven days and he was in for two days.”

The couple, who have been together since they were 15 and have a grandchild, wanted to raise money for both Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital. They held a draw and an auction at the Rivers Club, in Landseer Road, where they are members, and managed to raise more than £2,000.

Mr Albon, 60, said: “For me, it was a case of the wife going through all the inconvenience. It was messing up her lifestyle. I said I would go to have the test done and then I found I was compatible.

“It was just something I had to do and I didn't think twice about it.”