A 3-year-old girl who had limited time to live after birth received a life-saving gift from her from her 64-year-old granddad who donated his kidney to her.
According to The Sun UK, Little Penny Powell was born 10 weeks premature on December 8, 2013, weighing just 1lb 5oz. She was born with abnormal kidneys, chronic lung disease and two holes in her heart, and doctors believed she would only last a matter of hours.
Doctors also revealed that she won’t be able to breathe on her own, after having to make 11 visits to the intensive care unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since birth.
In June last year her dad Stuart, 39, received another sad news that she wasn’t going to live beyond the age of five without a new kidney.
After the whole family was tested, it was only Penny’s granddad John, 64, who shared her rare rhesus negative blood type. The doting granddad-of-four, who lives with wife Vicky, 63, in Evesham, Worcs, had his kidney taken out at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on June 2, in what is thought to be the biggest age gap between donor and patient.
He and Penny, who lives with her parents in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, have now recovered fully from their operations.
In an interview with the Sun, the granddad said: “As soon as we knew that Penny would need a transplant, we all went to get tested.
“She’s had such a difficult life to date, and we would all be willing to do whatever we could to save her.
“It transpired that only I could donate, because I was the only one to share a blood type with her. It was a no-brainer, of course.”
“When she was first born, I told Stuart that I would do anything to keep her safe and healthy.
“I told him that if it were a question of selling my home and all of my possessions to help her out, I would do it.
“I’ve never questioned my decision. For me, it’s the ultimate gift that a dad can give to his son – to help save his child for him.
“Penny is the most beautiful child. She was dealt a bad hand at birth, but she is the most bubbly and playful child you could ever wish to meet.
“I really wanted her to be well.
“Of course, the procedure was nerve-racking. It was about a year ago that I signed up to it, and I’ve been a nervous wreck, in truth.
“But in the end it was all very straightforward.
“It was literally a case of taking my kidney out at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, then taking it down to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
“It was all done within a day, and within two days I was back on my feet again and out of the hospital, and Penny was back out within four days.
“Since the operation, I’ve felt fine. I’m probably running on about an eight out of ten at the moment, but that’s not a problem.
“For me, it’s not a particularly amazing gesture. Any granddad would do it, if they could.
“The most amazing thing in my view is the fact that I’ve been able to do it so late on in my life.
“That’s a good message to send out to other people – that it’s never too late to help others.