Sue Townsend saved by son's kidney donation

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The Independent Online

The author Sue Townsend has undergone a life-saving kidney transplant thanks to the generosity of her son.

The 63-year-old creator of teenage nerd Adrian Mole received the donated organ from her eldest child Sean, 44, during an eight-hour operation at Leicester General Hospital.

Townsend has had Type 1 diabetes for 30 years, requiring three daily insulin injections. She has been registered blind for five years.

She had been living on dialysis and had waited two years for a suitable donor. After her four children and her second husband, Colin, underwent tests it was decided that Sean would be the best match.

She said this weekend that her kidneys "had been going downhill for five years", adding: "I had got down to about 5 per cent function. Behind my back, the family got together and decided that one would donate one of their own."

Complications arose following the operation in September – only disclosed now – when her body initially rejected the donor kidney and an infection developed, forcing her to return to hospital 17 times.

Townsend spoke out to highlight the shortage of organ donations in Britain: 10,000 people currently need a kidney transplant, three of whom die each day. Of the 1,500 who had kidney transplants last year, a third received the organ from a relative.

The writer, who became a household name in 1982 with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, the first in a series of eight books, said that despite her health problems she was happy with life.

"I've got four children, a lovely husband and 10 grandchildren, plus we had 19 for Christmas lunch made by Colin."