Dundee woman gives best friend the gift of life in time for Christmas

© DC Thomson
Claire (left) with best friend Dionne.

A woman is looking forward to her first proper Christmas dinner in over a decade after her best friend gave her the gift of life.

Dionne Kerr was banned from eating a long list of foods after going into gradual renal failure following a bout of E.coli when she was just two years old.

By 2016 her kidney function had dropped so much that she was forced to resort to dialysis to stay alive.

Witnessing the rigorous medical intervention needed to keep Dionne alive, her best friend Claire Knight made a secret decision to see if she was a suitable kidney donor.

Dionne, who lives in Perth, said: “In January last year my kidney function had dropped to 5% and I was told that within 18 months I was going to need either a transplant or dialysis to stay alive.

“In August I had to start dialysis and got placed on the national transplant list. I’d been told the best option would be a living donor and Claire decided she wanted to put herself forward.

“She initially didn’t tell me what she was doing because she might not have been a match. In July we got the go-ahead.

“It’s brought us so much closer – we are part of each other’s family now. I would say we are more like sisters than friends now.”

The pair were given the go-ahead for the operation in July and while Dionne is still undergoing regular post-surgery checks, the 32-year-old says she is looking forward to a Christmas feast.

She said: “When I was in renal failure and on dialysis I was on a fluid restriction. I wasn’t allowed fresh orange juice or fizzy juice or alcohol. With food I was banned from having sugars, anything with high potassium or red meats.

“With the transplant there are some restrictions but definitely not as much as when I was in renal failure. I’m going to have a proper Christmas dinner – turkey, pigs in blankets – because I wasn’t allowed any of that.

“It’s at least 10 years since I’ve been able to have a proper Christmas dinner.”

Claire, 30, from Dundee, said there was never a question of not trying to help her friend.

She said: “Because she’s my best friend I saw what she was going through and I thought I would get myself tested to see if I could help in any way.

“The thought of pulling out never crossed my mind – I didn’t want to see her suffer.”