Myrtleford grandmother's gift of life

21 May, 2010 09:42 AM
GRANDMOTHERS are renowned for giving their grandchildren the best presents but Isobel Fulton’s gift must surely rank towards the absolute top.

The Myrtleford grandmother, 66, has donated one of her kidneys to granddaughter Sophie McKerral, 8, of Gapsted, who’s kidney failed due to an infection that led to a blood clot.

Yesterday, Ms Fulton spoke to The Border Mail ahead of Kidney Health Week, which begins on Monday.

“It wasn’t all fine sailing, she started to reject it and that was terrible,” Ms Fulton said.

“But in the past four months, Sophie has come good.” Sophie, the youngest of three girls, first suffered kidney problems aged 15 months, in 2002.

At the time, Ms Fulton was found to be compatible and went through testing — physical and psychologoical — to make sure she could handle the procedure.

But before the transplant, Sophie regained function in 25 per cent of her kidney and the surgery was dropped as the youngster managed on dialysis and then medication. But the problems resurfaced about Christmas 2008, and Ms Fulton put her hand up again for the transplant. A successful operation was conducted in July.

Ms Fulton stayed on at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for a month and Sophie at the Royal Children’s for two months, with Sophie’s body taking some time to adapt to the new organ.

Ms Fulton admitted there was some discomfort for her as well but it had since passed. “I’m great; I’ve got my appetite back and I’m back drinking my red wine and piling on the weight,” she laughed. Ms Fulton said she jumped at the opportunity once she realised she was compatible. “I was surprised that they could put a 66-year-old’s liver into an eight-year-old’s body,” she said. Sophie thanked her grandmother by penning a tribute.

“She was making up a song for me because she’s going to be a rock star,” Ms Fulton said. “It’s about how grandma gave her kidney, not in Sydney but in Melbourne ... “But we haven’t found anything to rhyme with Melbourne so it isn’t finished.”

The Community Crew @ Albury will hold a charity lunch at the Albury Entertainment Centre tomorrow.

Tickets cost $30 and can be bought by calling Desney McGown on 0413 182 183.