A three-year-old who was expected to die at birth has received a life-saving kidney from her 64-year-old granddad. Little Penny Powell was born 10 weeks prematurely with abnormal kidneys, chronic lung disease and two holes in her heart, and doctors believed she would only last a matter of hours.
Indeed this is Amazing! What a testimony
It was thought that she would not be able to breathe on her own, but the miracle girl somehow defied the doctors’ predictions – despite having to make 11 visits to the intensive care unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since birth.
In June last year her dad Stuart, 39, was told she would not live beyond the age of five without a new kidney.
The whole family was tested, but only Penny’s granddad John, 64, shared her rare rhesus negative blood type, and the market trader instantly volunteered to go under the knife.
The doting granddad-of-four, who lives with wife Vicky, 63, in Evesham, Worcs, had his kidney taken out at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on June 21 – in what is thought to be the biggest age gap between donor and patient.
He and Penny, who lives with her parents in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, have now recovered fully from their operations.
Father-of-two John said:
“As soon as we knew that Penny would need a transplant, we all went to get tested.
“She’s had such a difficult life to date, and we would all be willing to do whatever we could to save her.
“It transpired that only I could donate, because I was the only one to share a blood type with her.
“It was a no-brainer, of course.
“When she was first born, I told Stuart that I would do anything to keep her safe and healthy.
“I told him that if it were a question of selling my home and all of my possessions to help her out, I would do it.
“I’ve never questioned my decision. For me, it’s the ultimate gift that a dad can give to his son – to help save his child for him.
“Penny is the most beautiful child. She was dealt a bad hand at birth, but she is the most bubbly and playful child you could ever wish to meet.
“I really wanted her to be well.
“Of course, the procedure was nerve-racking. It was about a year ago that I signed up to it, and I’ve been a nervous wreck, in truth.
“But in the end it was all very straightforward.
“It was literally a case of taking my kidney out at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, then taking it down to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
“It was all done within a day, and within two days I was back on my feet again and out of the hospital, and Penny was back out within four days.
“Since the operation, I’ve felt fine. I’m probably running on about an eight out of ten at the moment, but that’s not a problem.
“For me, it’s not a particularly amazing gesture. Any granddad would do it, if they could.
“The most amazing thing in my view is the fact that I’ve been able to do it so late on in my life.
“That’s a good message to send out to other people – that it’s never too late to help others.