AN INSPIRATIONAL transplant survivor is urging people to sign the Organ Donor Register after revealing 10 of her relatives have undergone the same life-changing operation - because of a genetic disorder, writes Ellen Beardmore.
Bridie Greenway’s mother died from polycystic kidney disorder along with her uncle after a transplant 50 years ago and her son Adam has also inherited the condition.
But a transplant transformed Bridie’s life - as well as the lives of her brother Barry Kerr, four cousins, three aunties and another uncle.
She feels so ‘blessed’ to survive she has competed in several transplant games worldwide, winning a clutch of medals, and is attending the Sheffield event later this year.
Grandma-of-five Bridie, was moved to tears when she told her story and backed The Star’s campaign to recruit 12,000 more local organ donors.
She said: “My mum Kathleen died at 49 and for the last two years she was very poorly, there was nothing to extend her life.
“I feel very blessed.
“Before my transplant I couldn’t have managed a length at Ponds Forge, I would have been too exhausted, but now I have can swim a mile in thirty minutes.”
Bridie was 23 when she discovered she had the condition like generations of her family before her.
It causes cysts in the kidneys and eventually leads to renal failure.
Her health deteriorated until she turned 40, when gruelling dialysis and an 18-month wait for a transplant at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital began.
But luckily a donor was found, the transplant was a success and she now goes back to the Fir Vale hospital three times a year for a check-up.
School crossing patrol project manager Bridie, of Chesterfield, said: “Three days after the operation my husband John asked me if I was tired and the answer was no, I felt absolutely marvellous.
“You don’t realise how ill you were until you are better.
“I thought I could take on the world.”
And Bridie - who is on the organ donor register herself - has pretty much done just that ever since.
She’s won a clutch of world titles at transplant games and even broke a swimming record.
This August she will compete in archery and bowling at the Westfield Health event in Sheffield, which promotes the benefits of transplantation.
Son Adam, aged 29, will one day need a transplant too.
“The games are just fantastic,” said Bridie.
“Everybody there has had a transplant but its not depressing and gloomy, everyone is upbeat and the donor families now come which is incredible.
“I did write a letter to the family of my donor to say thank you and telling them who I was so they had some idea.
“I just think it’s such a price somebody had to pay.”