World Kidney Day: A family’s transplant journey

14 March 2024

“Kidney transplant doesn’t just affect the donor and the recipient, it affects the whole family and all your loved ones”

Jane and her family have been on a long journey, one that began just weeks before her 21st birthday when her father, Stanley, received a shocking diagnosis of kidney cancer. Since then, the family has faced various hurdles on the path to living donation, but despite this has remained resilient and full of gratitude. Read their story below.

Jane Cuffwright Photo.jpg
Jane with her father, Stanley


After Dad got the news that he had kidney cancer, his treatment involved removing the kidney and thankfully after that he was cancer free. Fast forward 25 years and Dad’s remaining kidney had started to deteriorate due to ill health. His GFR (glomerular filtration rate), which indicates how well the kidney is functioning, dropped to around 16 and we were advised about Dad being added to the donor list.

It was December 2019 when both my mum and I went forward to start the tests to see if either of us where a match, and this was the start of our transplant journey. This brought good and bad news in that we were both a match, however the tests revealed that mum had a small cyst and tumour in one kidney and would not be able to be a donor.

I then started with scans and tests in preparation to proceed as a donor. The process was much more involved than I ever imagined and very thorough to make sure I was fit and fully understood the process.

Not long after, Dad got taken ill in November 2020 and his GFR plummeted to 4 which meant they had to put an emergency line in his chest to enable them to start dialysis immediately, which saved his life. Following this Dad went to dialysis twice a week for 3 hours a day, which left him feeling tired and heavy headed. Luckily, he was only on dialysis for around 6 months, when we got the call confirming the date for the transplant.

Dad had his last dialysis on the 18th May before we were both admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary ahead of the transplant on 19th May 2021. It was very overwhelming and emotional as we had been desperate for the day to arrive.

A couple of days after the transplant I remember being in hospital and a nurse had wheeled Dad to come and see me. He looked amazing and just seeing him and knowing he was OK was a huge relief (and very emotional). He ran rings around me with his recovery. Dad had gone from being so poorly to having a new lease of life.

Mum also got good news in November 2023, following her last scan the tumour in her kidney had shrunk and she has now been discharged.

It is coming up to our 3rd Kidneyversary this year and we have never looked back. The three of us always mark the day with a trip to Lytham St Annes, which is our happy place. I am so grateful that we were given this opportunity and we feel fortunate to have met so many amazing people on our journey. Kidney transplant doesn’t just affect the donor and the recipient, it affects the whole family and all your loved ones. The care continues and after having my live donor work-up at Salford Royal, I will continue to be followed up there for life as a donor.

Last year mum and I took part in a walk to raise awareness for organ donation. Something we were both privileged to be a part of. Being a living donor really is the gift of life and I am honoured to share our story.

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