A man’s long wait for a kidney transplant ended on Christmas Day.
Barry Jacobs, 41 from Woodside Park, had suffered from polycystic kidney disease for 20 years, and had been on the list for a transplant for three. As both his kidneys had been removed, he required dialysis for 15 hours a week.
Barry and Susie Jacobs and their two children were enjoying a rare break in Watford to celebrate Susie’s 40th birthday — December 25.
“We’d eaten our supper and put the kids to bed and at about 10pm on Christmas Eve I asked Susie what her perfect birthday present would be,” said Barry. “She said, ‘a new kidney for you’. At 26 minutes past ten the phone rang — it was the Royal Free.”
The couple could not even wait for Susie’s parents to arrive to look after their children, Thomas and Jenna. “We had to ask the hotel receptionist to go and sit with the children until my in-laws arrived. ”
Once there, doctors ran tests to determine that Barry was healthy enough for the operation. But then the couple was told that only one of two donor kidneys was viable. It would go to the patient found to be the better match.
It was not until the next morning that they were told that this was Barry, and that the operation could go ahead.
The next week was difficult, as at first Barry’s body rejected the new organ. But he responded to drugs, and left hospital on Monday.
“I’m still a bit sore and shaky, because of all the drugs I’m taking,” he said. “But I’m passing water for the first time in years, which is great. I’m going to have to go back for further tests, and I know it may not be straightforward. But just to get this far is like a miracle.”
The kidney donor was a 14-year-old boy who had been knocked down by a car.