I’ve donated a kidney in wife’s memory

Wedding Day picture of Lee & Keisha Ferrigon
Wedding Day picture of Lee & Keisha Ferrigon
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A HEARTBROKEN husband who lost his young wife to cancer has turned his grief into a determination to help others - even donating a kidney to a friend.

Lee Ferrigon’s wife Keisha died a year ago this month. She was just 32 years old.

Doctors had told Keisha the pains in her stomach were caused by an ulcer - but only weeks later they found she had a tumour and she died soon afterwards.

But instead of letting himself become consumed by bitterness and grief, school worker Lee, 35, pledged to continue Keisha’s life work, helping others.

And this summer he made a huge sacrifice - donating a kidney so a friend of a friend could finally come off dialysis after a lifetime of illness.

Lee, who works as an inclusion manager at Meadowhead School in Sheffield, told The Star: “When Keisha was ill there was nothing I could do - I just had to watch.

“But in this situation I was able to actually make a difference for a friend.”

Darren Ferguson, 30, from Milton Keynes, had been searching for a donor for his entire life, and had been enduring dialysis three or four times a week.

Soon after Keisha’s death Lee, who knew Darren through another friend, decided to have a test to see if he was a match.

Doctors told him he would be able to make the donation and, in August, Lee went into surgery to have one of his kidneys removed.

“It was a huge privilege,” he said. “It was a big deal for Darren - he had been looking for a donor his whole life, 30 years.

“But for me it was a bigger deal, to be able to do something. I don’t think he realises how important that was for me.”

Lee, who grew up in Handsworth, said his Christian faith had helped him to get through an incredibly hard time.

“Of course it’s been difficult,” he said.

“Having such wonderful friends has helped and my colleagues at Meadowhead have been amazing.

“On New Year’s Eve last year I was with Keisha’s sister Kelly Anne. We both decided we would go into 2011 celebrating.

“Keisha lived for others, and we decided to do the same.”

Now Lee has set up the Keisha Ferrigon Foundation to carry on her work - helping communities in the Burngreave area, working with young people, carrying out health programmes in schools and deprived areas, and raising money for cancer charities.

“The foundation is all about hope,” Lee said.

“It is about helping others who are in difficult places. This has been a hard year for me, and it is still very raw, but there is hope that I can do something positive. That is what this is about.”