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I'm thrilled to give Dylan one of my kidneys.. and the chance of a new life; TRUE LOVE: MOTHER AND THREE-YEAR-OLD SON PREPARE FOR TRANSPLANT.

DEVOTED mum Ann Thomson is about to make a huge sacrifice to give her three- year-old son the chance of a normal life.

Ann is to have one of her kidneys removed so it can be transplanted into little Dylan, whose kidneys failed completely shortly after his birth.

Only eight hours a day on a dialysis machine keeps the youngster alive.

And his condition means he has to be fed by a tube and has never tasted solid food or the sweets his friends take for granted.

Ann, of Old Kilpatrick, Dunbartonshire, said: "I've got two healthy kidneys and I only need one - I was over the moon when doctors told me they could take one to help Dylan.

"It used to break my heart watching other children enjoying chocolate and knowing Dylan couldn't even try it.

"Now I'm looking forward to being able to cook him his first plate of mince and potatoes."

Ann's sacrifice means she won't be there for her son when he wakes up after his four- hour operation - she'll be recovering from surgery to remove her kidney.

The 32-year-old mum said it will be an anxious time for husband Dougie.

She said: "I'm not scared about having the operation myself, but I'm obviously worried about Dylan because he's so young.

"I wish I could be there for when he wakes up afterwards, but Dougie will be there with him.

"Dougie is concerned because two people he loves will be having an operation - but he knows I have to do this. If he'd been a match he would have wanted to do it too. I'm happy to do this to give my little boy a better life."

Ann and Dougie, 30, who have a seven-year-old son, Paul, and daughter Lauren, six, were overjoyed when Dylan was born almost four years ago.

But straight after the birth, Dylan was whisked away by doctors for tests.

Eventually, Ann was told told her son's kidneys weren't working.

She said: "Doctors told us Dylan would have to remain on dialysis unless he could have a transplant. When they suggested Dougie and I go for tests to see if one of us could be a donor, we didn't hesitate."

Dougie was blood group O, but Ann discovered she was A-Positive - the same group as Dylan.

She said: "I felt fantastic when I found out. As a mum, you'd give your right arm for your children."

Ann has had to wait until Dylan reached more than 30lbs for the transplant to take place. Now she's waiting for a call to let her know when the operating theatres are free at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

"I've been told it could be as soon as July or August," said Ann.

Without the operation, Dylan is unable to eat solid food. He has to be fed special vitamin-rich milk through a tube in his stomach for 12 hours. He also has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for eight hours at night.

Ann said: "Dylan is just as active as every other three-year-old.

"He loves running around, playing with his friends and he adores nursery. To look at him you wouldn't know there was anything wrong. No one can see the feeding tube under his shirt."

Ann believes that, although Dylan has never eaten a proper meal or snacked on sweets, he is happy because he doesn't know what he is missing.

She said: "It was terrible at first when we'd sit down to have a family meal and Dylan couldn't join in.

"Because he'd been sick as a baby when he tried to feed, he associated eating with being ill. Sometimes he would be sick just watching us eat.

"But now he plays with food on a plate with a knife and fork. We have to help him get used to food and teach him about it, even if he can't eat it yet.

"He'll ask me for sweeties because he's heard the other kids ask, so I do buy them for him.

"But he just likes to hold the sweets or give them away. He doesn't want to eat them because he doesn't know what it's like to eat sweets."

Ann is looking forward to Dylan being able to start school and eating properly like the other children.

She said: "No-one has ever said anything bad to him but older children can sometimes be cruel and so I'd like him to be better in time for school."
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Author:Croce, Maria
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 2, 2000
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