Publish date: 1 May 2024

Close friends are thanking staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital after kidney transplant success improves quality of life.

Tania Emery, 49, was diagnosed with Stage 5 polycystic disease in Summer 2022. The disease is caused by clusters of cysts developing primarily within the kidneys, causing the kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time. Following her diagnosis, Tania required either a kidney transplant or dialysis to treat the kidney failure.

Tania was placed on the deceased donor waiting list and was considering her options when friend of 15 years, Lisa Marsh, volunteered to donate her kidney. A series of tests and assessments followed to determine whether they were a good match and there were no health concerns. After 15 months of health assessments and treatments, the pair underwent surgery in February 2024 and have since praised the exceptional care they received at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Lisa Marsh and Tania Emery 2.jpeg

Commenting on her decision to donate her kidney, Lisa said: “I thought about it a lot before I stepped forward and the assessment process was very thorough as they didn’t want to solve Tania’s problem and then create another for me. I was so relieved when we received the call that it was going to happen.

“Tania and I have supported each other through it all,” the 54-year-old added. “We’re both quite pragmatic which helped us come to terms with everything and we constantly checked in with each other to make sure we were both okay.”

While the pair have the same blood type, they were not a perfect donor match. Despite this, the match was deemed good enough to go ahead with the transplant.

Tania said: “I was amazed when Lisa offered to donate her kidney to me. It’s incredible. It was important to me that she felt like she could withdraw the offer of donation at any point and it helped that she did extensive research before making her decision. The benefit of the assessment process taking so long was that it gave us both time to process what was happening and not feel rushed.”

The pair went into surgery in February and have praised the care they received at PHU.

“I stayed on the G6 post-transplant ward following the surgery and the care was consistently brilliant,” Tania said. “Everyone was attentive and compassionate and encouraging.”

Lisa added her thanks to staff: “We have been cared for since 2022 and the care has been exemplary. The staff are under so much pressure, but every appointment was on time, quick and efficient.

“We want to say a huge thank you to all the staff that have cared for us. There is a real sense of teamwork and camaraderie in the department and we’re so grateful for everyone who helped us every step of the way.”

Lisa Marsh and Tania Emery 1.jpeg

Lucy Chester, Living Donor Transplant Coordinator at PHU, was one of the many hospital staff who cared for Lisa and Tania and commented on how life-changing organ donation can be for patients.

Lucy said: “My job is a privilege and allows me to meet amazing people like Lisa and Tania. Whilst taking Lisa through the assessment process to determine her suitability to donate a kidney, I got to know her and felt her joy at being able to tell Tania that she could donate a kidney. It was amazing to then see the transformation in Tania’s health after her transplant. Lisa gave the ultimate gift of life to her friend.”

Seven weeks following the operation, Tania and Lisa’s recovery is going well. Lisa has returned to work and Tania continues to improve. She is slowly doing more each day and attending regular check up appointments at the hospital.