Mum Julie’s pal gives her the gift of life

Julie Rogers (left) with workmate Helen Cavanagh
Julie Rogers (left) with workmate Helen Cavanagh

A GRATEFUL Wigan woman received the gift of life this Christmas after a workmate donated one of their kidneys to her.

Mum-of-two Julie Rogers, 45, of Hindley, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease, was admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary on Boxing Day before undergoing a three-hour operation the following day.

Her selfless Royal Bank of Scotland colleague, Helen Cavanagh, 51, also underwent the surgeon’s knife to donate her own healthy organ.

A hospital spokesman confirmed yesterday that the transplant operation had been a success and that both patients were recovering well.

Speaking before the op, Ms Rogers, who has already lost her grandfather, great aunt and aunt to the hereditary condition, said: “It’s the gift of life. They said at the hospital it was unusual. All the nurses seemed surprised Helen was a friend not a relative - how amazing it was.”

Over the last seven years Ms Rogers’ kidneys grew so large that she struggled to breathe properly, was in a lot of pain and her eating and drinking was severely restricted.

She now undergoes dialysis three times a week.

“The average life span is five years on dialysis, I’m now on my third year. Some people beat that statistic, some don’t, my aunty didn’t,” she added.

“It makes you realise the statistics are real people. Quite a few people have said ‘I will give you a kidney’, it’s something people want to say.

“But I couldn’t believe it when Helen considered it. I was gobsmacked.”

Mrs Cavanagh, who takes on a 10-mile walk for charity every year, said: “People keep saying I’m brave, but you would have to meet Julie to know why I’m doing it.

“Julie just seems to absorb it all. She’s amazing.”