SELFLESS gran Cherry Williams has potentially saved the life of a stranger.
Walberton resident Mrs Williams is making a speedy recovery from donating one of her kidneys.
She went shopping for the first time this week after the major operation and said she was feeling fine.
She said: “The surgeon originally told me I couldn’t drive for six weeks, but it’s been five and I’ve made such a good recovery he said I could start driving sooner.
“The whole process was amazing. I hope I have made a difference to the recipient’s life and I’m now looking forward to getting back into the gym and to playing tennis again.”
She only knows her kidney was put into a 41-year-old man who had been on dialysis for eight years and is doing well after his operation.
A grandmother of 12, Mrs Williams, 68, of Copse Lane, began to think about becoming an altruistic donor after a distant relative became seriously ill with a kidney problem four years ago.
She found out how restrictive life on dialysis is for those forced to rely on the regular treatment.
“Two cups of tea for breakfast and a little milk on your cornflakes, and that’s your fluid ration for the day, as well as having a restricted diet, restricted travel and attending hospital three or four times a week for dialysis,” she said. “I can’t imagine what life like that can be.”
Moved by this knowledge, Mrs Williams approached the renal transplant unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital at Portsmouth with a view to donating a kidney.
She began 11 months of complicated, rigorous testing, scanning and interviews to ensure she was fit enough for the three-hour operation and that her kidney was good enough to be transplanted.
She said: “I felt confident that, after all this testing, I could live with one kidney.”
Her left kidney was removed in an operation at QA Hospital a week before Christmas. The kidney was taken in a 999 ambulance car to the transplant centre where it was safely implanted in the recipient.
Five days later, and Mrs Williams was back home. “I’ve just got a four-inch scar under my ribs and two small marks on my back as the only sign of the surgery,” she said.
Mrs Williams is the ladies’ captain of Arundel Tennis Club and has run two marathons, raising £2,600 for charity. Her retired naval officer husband, Graham, 77, has fully supported her.