A FAMILY is on a desperate search for a kidney donor to save their mum’s life after her health condition deteriorated when she caught Covid.

Mum-of-five Stephanie Digance became unwell with Covid before Christmas but bounced back to health for Christmas Day.

However, the 41-year-old from Tadley deteriorated on Boxing Day and was taken into Basingstoke hospital on New Year’s Eve where she was told she had caught an infection, which had been masked by Covid.

Stephanie, who works as a learning support assistant at The Priory School, was given the devastating news that she had stage five kidney disease – the most severe - and needs an urgent kidney transplant.

Her daughter Toni-Marie Kelly told the Gazette that family members and friends have all tested to see if they are a match, but so far no one has been found.

The 21-year-old carer said: “It’s been a stressful time. There’s the chance we don’t find anyone and the worst-case scenario is she passes away.”

The family are now relying on the kindness of a stranger to come forward as an altruistic kidney donor and save their mum’s life.

Altruistic living donors volunteer to donate a kidney to someone who needs a transplant.

In the UK, more than 1,000 people each year donate a kidney or part of their liver while they are still alive to a relative, friend, or stranger.

Toni-Marie appreciates the enormity of the request but pleaded with the public to consider getting tested.

She said: “Mum has five kids, I’m the eldest and the youngest is two. We need her. I would say to anyone considering donating, thank you for even considering it. Those who know mum know she would do anything for anybody. She is selfless. During the pandemic she was high risk but still doing shopping for elderly people. She’s an angel on earth. A donor would be saving my mum’s life.”

Basingstoke Gazette:

There is a chance a kidney could come from a deceased person, but these are usually higher risk.

Stephanie was put on the national transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor last year and was advised the wait would be around two years.

However, Toni-Marie is hoping that she will be given priority now her condition has deteriorated.

She said the family has not been able to visit Stephanie in hospital but were allowed to wave to her through a window.

“My brothers live with their dad and when we had Covid over Christmas mum hasn’t seen them. We have still got a bag of Christmas presents. That’s been the hardest thing for her is not seeing her kids,” she said.

Stephanie has been on oxygen and antibiotics in hospital, and also had her blood cleaned for 72 hours through a canular inserted into a neck artery.

Basingstoke Gazette: The machine used to clean Stephanie's bloodThe machine used to clean Stephanie's blood

She is expected to be transferred to The Wessex Kidney Centre at the Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth soon, where decisions about what to do next will be made.

Toni-Marie said: “The last few days she was really down and emotional, but yesterday she was a little bit more herself as the antibiotics kicked in and she got out of bed for the first time.”

She added: “We’re desperate to find a kidney match somewhere out there. There has to be someone out there.”

Anyone who would like to be tested should contact Wessex Kidney Centre on pho-tr.portsmouthkidney@nhs.net and ask to be tested as a match for Stephonanie Digance.