A MUM desperate for a kidney transplant has taken matters into her own hands by launching a campaign to find a donor.
Emma O’Regan was placed on the transplant list in June, after a three-year battle with kidney disease left her requiring dialysis three times a week to survive.
After learning she could be waiting years for a donor, she decided to seek a live donor herself, while raising awareness of the condition at the same time.
The mum-of-three, 28, of Muirfield Road, Durrington, said: “I’ve heard so many success stories, where people have been sorted in weeks but then I go on the renal unit and they have been waiting for seven to eight years.
“My youngest son is five and if I’m waiting that long, I’m not going to have a life with my children. I’ve just about got the energy to pick them up from school. It freaks me out a bit.”
Emma was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2011.
She suffered from persistently low blood pressure and doctors spent two unsuccessful years treating her, before referring her to specialists.
A biopsy revealed the diagnosis and the next three years were spent in and out of hospital, as her condition worsened.
She said: “I started dialysis in July. It really did knock me for six.
“It’s had a real affect on my whole family, including my parents and children.
“It’s really tough because it wears you out and you can’t do a lot of the things everyone else does.
“The dialysis is getting all the rubbish out of my body. If I don’t have the toxins removed, it could kill me.
“I’ve got to do this until I get a transplant. It’s very unlikely they will get better on their own.”
Emma set up her Facebook page, ‘Emma needs a kidney’, last week, which already has over 1, 000 followers.
Her campaign has also attracted the attention of celebrities, including Keith Lemon and Zoe Ball.
She said: “The whole point of the campaign was to highlight that, yes, I need a kidney, but many people need one, too, as well as the need for living donors.
“I didn’t think it would be so popular but it has gone completely crazy.
“A lot of people have said they have joined the organ donor register since seeing the page, too.”
Emma has also been contacted by other sufferers, who have shared their harrowing tales with her.
One woman’s grandmother had died while awaiting a lung transplant – a match was found days later.
To follow Emma’s campaign, search ‘Emma needs a kidney’ on Facebook.
She is seeking a donor with O+ blood to get in touch.
To find out more about organ donation, log on to the website www.organdonation.nhs.uk
Emma wished to thank the Sussex Kidney Unit, in Brighton, for her ongoing treatment and the ‘wonderful’ transport staff who take her to the unit.