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Receiving the Most Precious Gift of Life – Kathy’s Story

Kathy Gilcrist developed renal failure after the birth of her twin girls and shares how she was in the fight for her life before receiving a kidney transplant.

Kathy with daughters

"Kathy was fighting renal failure after the birth of twin girls"

KTDRA regular giver Kathy Gilcrist knows how precious life is. She developed renal failure after the birth of her twin girls 28 years ago and was fighting for life before receiving the most precious gift, a kidney. She shares her personal journey below.

“Reflecting on this time has brought back many memories. My renal failure came after giving birth to twin girls, Sharne and Kristy. I was airlifted from Mt Gambier to the Queen Victoria Hospital with stomach cramps and my babies were born seven weeks premature.

What followed was extremely scary for us. The twins and I were transferred to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) and I was put on life support for three days due to organ failure from the preeclampsia I developed during my pregnancy.

This was a very traumatic time for my husband Terry, and my family. Thankfully, I started recovering but my kidneys had shut down and I was facing home dialysis.

Adjusting to a New Normal

I remember us feeling overwhelmed as we were excited about having twin girls, sisters for our three-year-old son Joshua but facing a huge life change. We tried to adjust as best we could to a new normal.

After work Terry would look after the kids, and I would dialyse three times a week for four hours. Our lives changed dramatically, and things like holidays became difficult as I waited for a kidney.

A Life-Changing Phone Call

Fast forward six years, on 15 September 1999, two days before the twins’ 6th birthday, I received the life-changing call – I was getting a kidney!

The surgery at TQEH was successful and after five days in hospital, my blood test results were great and the doctors were happy. I was told the kidney donor was a young adult who was in an accident, which made me feel guilty about being excited that I had been given a great gift of life.

I received incredible support from the doctors and nursing staff at TQEH renal ward and I still thank them today. I was amazed at how quick I started feeling better and my quality of life improved dramatically. We could finally have a family holiday!

Giving Back for Research

The renal failure period was a tough time not just on me but my husband and my children who watched the whole process from being unwell to injecting myself three times a week.

My journey has been so much easier and made less stressful with the benefit of having Professor Toby Coates as my specialist. Words cannot express how grateful I am for him. His passion for his patients and research is truly inspiring.

My story is why I donate to KTDRA. It’s thanks to research and medical developments I am where I am today. It changes the lives of so many people.”

If you would like to join our community by becoming a regular giver, call us on (08) 7002 0840 to find out more.