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And baby makes three.

Byline: By Jane Picken

Swap op lad has a baby boy

Dad Terry Sharp gave his son the gift of life - months after he gave him the gift of a grandson.

Darren Sharp was facing an uncertain future and a possible lifetime of dialysis as his only kidney started to fail.

But dad Terry, from Whitley Bay, stepped in and offered one of his kidneys for transplant after doctors at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital found he was the perfect match.

And just months before the operation Darren, 29, and his fiance Michelle Maddox, 27, gave his dad the gift of a grandchild when baby Elliott was born on July 6.

Now the family are relaxing back into normal life at home in Forest Hall, North Tyneside, after medics hailed the transplant operation a success.

"I was so grateful for dad's donation especially as you hear of people waiting on transplant lists for years," said Darren, who runs a coving business with dad Terry.

"Now I feel like I'm free to be normal and I owe my life to what my dad did. I feel like I've got my life back."

Terry said: "When I found out I could be a donor for Darren I was over the moon.

"We wanted to get the operation over and done with because Darren was not getting any fitter and I was not getting any younger.

"And it was great to have Elliott come along just before the operation."

Darren's kidney problems started when he was a baby and doctors soon discovered his bladder had become blocked causing urine to poison the vital organs.

One of his kidneys stopped working but at the time doctors estimated he would not need an operation to replace his remaining organ until much later in life.

But, around three years ago Darren's remaining kidney started to fail and operated at just 10% capacity. He was placed on a strict low-potassium diet to stave off the need for dialysis.

"Darren's mum and I took him to hospital when he was a baby because he was being sick all the time," remembered 49-year-old Terry.

"They discovered problems with his kidneys but told us he wouldn't need a transplant until he was in his 70s. But when Darren reached his 20s they realised they would have to do it sooner.

"The doctors got the family together and asked if we would be tested to find a donor. I put myself forward straight away."

Darren, who will marry civil servant Michelle at Sacred Heart Church in Gosforth in June, said: "Since I was 20 I couldn't eat things like crisps, chocolate or bananas, and drinking beer was difficult but things are very different now. I knew the operation would have a positive outcome and I'm so grateful to Professor Dave Talbot and all the other staff who op'."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Previous Article:Family kidney swap delight.
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