Woman giving boyfriend kidney in ultimate show of love
A woman will go under the knife this week to give a kidney to the man she knows needs it most – her own boyfriend.
This Thursday, July 8, Vicky Compton, 35, and her partner Eddie Huntley, 29, will go into theatre together to give Eddie the chance of a clean bill of health.
The selfless donation comes after Eddie suffered kidney failure in July 2019 from a chronic condition he had as a child.
Since then he had been on dialysis three times a week for up to four hours at a time.
But now, after two years of watching her partner go in and out of hospital, Vicky is going under the knife to help them both get their lives back on track.
"The two of us aren’t really thinking about it in a way,” said Vicky. “We’ve been through quite a lot together anyway – we’re doing this so we can carry on being together.”
"It’s almost like before you go on holiday,” said Eddie, with less than three days before the couple’s trip to hospital. “You don’t really talk about it until you’re at the terminal.”
The couple met in Scarborough seven years ago at a gig for Eddie’s classic rock cover band, Aftermath.
They moved to Renishaw, near Sheffield, five years ago while Eddie continued his music career.
But two years ago, the couple was faced with the sudden reality of Eddie’s deteriorating health.
“I always knew it was only a matter of time before my kidneys failed,” said Eddie.
At age 12, Eddie developed Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP), a disease that causes inflammation of small blood vessels.
It inflicted lasting damage to his organs and left his kidneys at less than half their ability.
"They were at about 40 per cent efficiency,” said Eddie. “You can get by just fine like that, but the doctors told me one day my kidneys will fail. I just always imagined it would be when I was 50.”
Vicky said: “It was a lot of things all at once. He was really poorly, he wasn’t sleeping, his appetite was gone. We went from monthly check ups to weekly tests until finally they said he was in kidney failure.”
It marked the beginning of many, many trips to hospital for Eddie, who would undergo dialysis three times a week for four hours at a time for the next two years.
"Dialysis is horrible,” said Eddie bluntly. “It’s better than it used to be but it’s still horrible. It itches and you get cramps. It’s uncomfortable, it’s long and it’s boring.”
"It was worrying,” said Vicky. “I was anxious for him. I took him to his appointments and I could just see the dread on his face on those mornings.
"It’s knowing someone had to go through it almost daily knowing they absolutely didn’t want to go.”
The treatment also meant the couple had to put off their life plans. Even without the disruption of the Covid pandemic, Vicky and Eddie could not move house, go on holiday or visit friends away knowing that they would need to be at hospital every other day.
All they could do was keep their fingers crossed for a transplant.
Eddie said: “Other than the waiting list, all you can do is hand out forms to your friends and family asking if they are okay being tested to see if they’re a match.”
A common misconception is that to donate a kidney a person only needs to be a blood match. There are three other markers that makes someone viable, as well as other factors like if the person needs to lose weight first to be suitable for surgery.Of course, Vicky was one of the first to fill out the application. But it wasn’t until August 2020 that she was asked to get tested to see if she would be a match.
The results came a month later.
"I had just dropped Eddie off at his appointment when they rang,” said Vicky. “They said I was a match and if I was okay with it they would go with me.
"It was a bit of a shock… Even now though I feel fine about it. I’m going to do this because then we can move on with our lives together and we can get back to where we want to be.
”It’s best not to try and stress or worry because it doesn’t solve anything.”
Eddie said: “We haven’t really talked about it. Literally it’s been on the level of ‘can I have your kidney?’, ‘sure’, ‘cheers’.
"It’s just something that’s happening. We’ve already been through a lot together.
"I’m grateful really as I was on the waiting list for a year, which is nothing. You can wait years and years."
Eddie and Vicky are heading to hospital on July 7 ahead of the surgery on Thursday.
They are facing eight weeks of recovery – but after that they will be set to move on with their lives together. Eddie is set to begin gigs for the launch of a new EP for his own music project, The Eddie Huntley Band. The couple also want to move to a bigger house and take the time following the end of Covid restrictions to see friends again around the country.
Vicky said: “We will be able to move forward with our lives and the plans we had before all this started.”