A kidney transplant patient whose round-the-world voyage was jeopardised by the

refusal of the NHS to pay for essential drugs has won financial aid after her story was featured in Independent London.

Jacquie Dowding sets sail from London for New Zealand on Sunday as one of a two-woman crew aboard the 31ft sloop Maleni. She is making the 18-month journey to increase awareness about successful donor organ operations and to raise money for a transplant patients' hardship fund.

Three weeks ago Miss Dowding, 35, of South Woodford, north-east London, learned her doctor had been refused permission to prescribe more than three months'

worth of her daily medication on the ground that after that time period travellers cease to be classed as NHS patients.

The immunosuppressant drugs, needed to stop her body from rejecting the donor organ, would cost pounds 2,800 for 15 months.

Miss Dowding, a hairdressing consultant, could not buy the tablets herself as she had used all her savings to pay for the journey.

However, as a result of her story appearing in Independent London, she was contacted by the National Federation of Kidney Patients' Associations who offered to meet part of the cost.

At their suggestion Miss Dowding approached the National Kidney Federation, a research organisation, who agreed to contribute the outstanding pounds 2,000.

Yesterday Miss Dowding said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received. 'This is such a relief. I had been getting very depressed thinking about how I was going to pay for the drugs.

'I am making this trip to show what people can achieve but I was being held back by bureaucracy. Now I can concentrate on preparing to go.