Mom saves seriously ill son’s life by donating kidney after transplant fails

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Josh Houston, 25, was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2017, a disease that attacks the kidneys and limits their function. His mother Michelle gave him a kidney on December 17 last year.

Josh Houston with his mother Michelle
Josh Houston with his mother Michelle

A mother saved her seriously ill son by donating one of her kidneys… after a transplant from another donor failed when she contracted coronavirus.

Josh Houston, 25, was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2017, a disease that attacks the kidneys and limits their function.

Fit and healthy, Josh went from running up to 50 miles a week to not being able to exercise at all.

His kidney function had dropped to just 33 percent and he was placed on a rigorous diet.

Last October, Josh was in the hospital with gout when he got a call to say a deceased donor match had been found.

But he tested positive for covid while in hospital and surgeons had to cancel the operation, and the kidney was donated to someone else.

Railway engineer Josh has now been given a new lease on life by his mother Michelle Houston, 48, who stepped in to give him a kidney.

Michelle donated one of her kidneys
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Image:

News Search / SWNS)

Michelle, a mother of three, from Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, gave her son a kidney on December 17 last year after it was discovered they were a perfect match.

Both are now home recovering well and Josh’s body is responding to his new kidney.

Josh, from Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, said: “I was first diagnosed in July 2017 after being unwell for a long time. I went from running up to 50 miles a week to nothing.

“It’s been hard to adjust my whole life. I had to cook completely from scratch to make sure I knew exactly what I was eating and could only have a ‘delicious’ meal maybe once a month.

“I lost a lot of weight because I wasn’t sure what I could eat, so I had to be mentally strong to get by.

“I really appreciate my mother and I am so thankful that the kidney has not been rejected so far.

“I have been very fortunate to have had the support of my family and the NHS – from diagnosis to now, they have always gone out of their way for me.”

Michelle, who works in finance, has a genetic makeup almost identical to Josh’s and has ‘O’ blood type, meaning the doctors deemed her a perfect donor.

He was in the hospital for two days after the operation, while Josh was in the hospital for five.

Michelle said: “I went through a lot of tests and exams to make sure I was completely healthy and mentally sound.

“There were X-rays and MRIs and we even had to provide doctors with photographs of Josh and I over the years to prove that we were related.

“I also had to decide what would happen to the kidney if for some reason my operation happened but Josh couldn’t accept it.

“Kidney transplants are usually much more successful when they come from a living donor. He has brought Josh back to life.”

Josh still has to take precautions in the coming months.

He added: “While I can pretty much eat anything I like again, I’m on medication for the foreseeable future.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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