Source: Hull and East Riding Daily Mail
A BRIDE-TO-BE who desperately needs a kidney transplant has spoken of her joy after her fiancé's best man was found to be a match.
Leanne Kennedy has had kidney disease for most of her life and needs dialysis every day.
She was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2007 and is constantly tired.
But Leanne, 30, who is due to get married in Cyprus in September, has recently found out best man Stuart Kilgannon is a match and he will donate a kidney to her in January.
It comes after figures show almost 200 people in East Yorkshire desperately need a transplant.
Leanne, of east Hull, said: "I am elated.
"I can't believe it because the chances of Stuart being a match were so slim.
"He is my hero.
"Until I'm in that gown going down to theatre, I don't think it will sink in. It has been tough because, when you go on the list, every time your phone rings you think it's that call."
Leanne's fiancé, Shaun Stefanovic, 36, and other family members were initially tested, but they were not found to be a match.
Leanne said Stuart was not tested sooner because he did not realise how poorly she was.
Without a kidney transplant, Leanne said she would continue to struggle physically. Without dialysis, she would die.
She said: "I don't think Stuart realised that someone who is alive could donate a kidney.
"He knew I was poorly but not how poorly because I don't advertise it.
"When he realised, he offered to be tested straight away.
"I will be eternally grateful.
"I will be able to get on with my life and plan a family.
"I'm one of the lucky ones. Some people have been on the waiting list for 10 years."
Stuart, 38, of Beverley, remained modest about donating a kidney to Leanne.
He said: "I have friends who are fighting in Afghanistan and, to me, they are heroes.
"I have told Leanne and Shaun their first child has to be named Stuart junior.
"I didn't realise how poorly Leanne was until she told us.
"I didn't think I would be a match, but I am and it's great.
"Leanne and Shaun can stop worrying and plan their wedding, and it's all good."
There are 118 people waiting for a transplant in Hull and the East Riding.
A further 77 people have been temporarily removed from the list for various reasons, including being too ill to undergo surgery.
Leanne is now calling for more people to join the organ donor register.
She said: "If you are willing to receive, you should be willing to give. Live life, then give life."
Since 2007, 28 people from the region have died while waiting for a transplant.
During the same time, 546 people underwent transplants.
This includes people who have received organs from a living donor, as well as those who have received an organ from someone who has died.
More than 315,000 people in Hull and the East Riding are on the UK Organ Donor Register.
Julie Chambers's daughter Zoe was just two and a half years old when she died on July 12, 2008.
Before undergoing a heart transplant in June 2007, Zoe suffered six heart attacks and survived for 100 days attached to a Berlin Heart – a £100,000 piece of equipment that kept her alive.
But just over one year after her transplant, Zoe fell ill and died.
Now, ahead of the third anniversary of Zoe's death on Tuesday, Julie said she also wants more people to join the register.
Julie, who has a son, Dylan, 8, and gave birth to her second son, Jamie, five months ago, said: "You never know when you are going to need a new organ.
"Joining the register takes two minutes, it is easy to do and you will have done an amazing thing.
"Zoe could have got 10 years out of it, but unfortunately she didn't.
"But I would do it all again. It gave Zoe a chance.
"Donor families are worth their weight in gold."
Tracey Heron, specialist nurse in organ donation at NHS Blood And Transplant, is based at Hull Royal Infirmary.
She said: "Nationally, on average, three people are dying every day while they are on the waiting list.
"It is important people talk to their families and let them know their wishes.
"It's the gift of life."