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Twin gets a new kidney — and now crosses fingers for sister

Date: Monday 20th February 2017
Anne Gibson (right) and her twin sister, Jayne Hutchinson.
Anne Gibson (right) and her twin sister, Jayne Hutchinson.

A WOMAN from Glenridding who has been undergoing kidney dialysis for two and a half years is recovering in hospital after a transplant.

Twin Anne Gibson, whose sister, Jayne Hutchinson, is also on the transplant list, underwent the operation almost three weeks ago and hopes to return home this week.

The pair were both diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in their mid-50s, although they always knew it would rear its head at some point. It is a genetic condition they inherited from their mother, who died from the condition when they were aged 17.

Since then, they have both had to undergo dialysis — Anne at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, three times a week, and Jayne at home, via a pioneering peritoneal system which Anne had to stop using last year when she developed an infection.

However, Anne, who was diagnosed with the condition just two months before her sister, has now undergone a transplant at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, after a donor was found. Despite a complication which meant a second operation to remove part of her bowel, she is now recovering well.

Anne, who runs M. and A. Private Hire with her husband, Mike, said: “I’m told it was a very good match. I got the call at 1 o’clock in the morning, after we had just delivered the last of our taxi passengers home, and they said it’s the Freeman here, can you come to Ward 38 for transplant, and that was it. I didn’t take it in. I put the phone down, then said, ‘what did they say?’.

“We got here by about 3-30am and I was in theatre by 2-30pm and back on the ward at 7-30pm. Most people tend to get two or three calls before they actually get a kidney, so I was expecting to go home by dinner time, but when they came back with the blood results, they said it was mine.”

Anne will have to undergo tests every other day for the next three months and will not be able to travel abroad for a year, but she is hoping she can resume her passion for travel as soon as possible.

The 58-year-old, who has embarked on several holidays a year, despite having to spend large chunks of them undergoing dialysis for the past two and a half years, says she has had to cancel trips to Spain and New York, which she was due to go on this year, but would love to go on a cruise and visit Dubai once she is able to gain travel insurance again.

“I had a £1,000 travel insurance bill to pay for the holidays I was booked on, but I hadn’t paid it yet for some reason. I must have known something was going to happen, like a sixth sense,” said Anne, who is now hoping a match can also be found for Jayne, who remains on the transplant list.

The pair have raised thousands of pounds for the dialysis unit at Carlisle since becoming patients there.

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