Sunday 26 March 2017

Devoted Irish mum to donate two organs to save her little boy's life: 'This is going to be your year'

Sarah Lamont with her son Joe
Sarah Lamont with her son Joe

Allan Preston

An Irish mother donating two organs to save her four-year-old boy's life has promised him: "This is going to be your year."

Sarah Lamont (36) from Ballymena in Antrim said she hasn't doubted for a second her decision to donate both a kidney and part of her liver to her son Joe.

Born with a rare condition - autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease - Joe was forced to have his kidneys removed and has depended on constant dialysis ever since.

He has also developed advanced liver disease, which could prove life threatening without a transplant.

His mother said she could wait no longer to get him the help he needs.

"In June, Joe had been on the transplant list for over a year and there was no sign of him getting a call," she said.

Joe was forced to have his kidneys removed and has depended on constant dialysis ever since.
Joe was forced to have his kidneys removed and has depended on constant dialysis ever since.

"Meanwhile, we saw other wee kids getting kidneys from their mum or dad. It's life changing for them."

Needing dialysis three times a week, Sarah said Joe "just wasn't getting a chance to do what wee boys do."

Sarah said she wants nothing more than to take Joe on holiday to Disneyland and to attend mainstream school, but is worried that delays caused by his illness will make it too hard for him to catch up with other children his own age.

After having a "brainwave" to contact Birmingham's Children's Hospital last year, it was discovered that Sarah and Joe are a blood type match.

The liver transplant is planned for January 25, with the kidney operation in the following months when both mother and son have recovered.

"I'll be all right, I'm a very optimistic person. If I could do it today I would, the sooner the better," said Sarah.

"I would never have doubts. Joe's been through so much, there's been a few times where I've been told he's not going to make it and he always does."

Despite the health problems Joe has had to suffer, his mum said she was inspired by his happy personality.

"He's so funny, he's got a box of practical jokes and he's a real character who loves to sing."

She continued: "He's really tough as well. If he fell and hurt himself he wouldn't cry, he's feisty."

Ahead of this month's surgery, Joe enjoyed a "wonderful Christmas" with his mum and older brother and sister Max and Eve.

"They really love him, but they have to put up with a lot too," said Sarah.

"Every time you go to plan something, he could take sick. The first year he came home he was on dialysis, so we couldn't leave the house 12 hours a day, seven days a week."

Looking forward to a brighter 2017, Sarah added: "I said to him the other night 'this is going to be your year Joe' and he got excited and said to me 'I'm getting a new liver and a new kidney!'."

"He doesn't complain, he always fights back. There's no point in feeling sorry for yourself. I'm lucky to have him."

Sarah said Joe's experience showed how vital organ donation was.

"I'm lucky I can give Joe a liver and kidney, but if he had a heart problem he could die waiting," she explained. "You also don't know how long organ transplants last, so he'll probably need multiple transplants in his life."

Urging others to register as a donor immediately she said: "If you're on your deathbed of course you would take an organ, so if you're prepared to take it you should of course be prepared to give."

Belfast Telegraph

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