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It's the best Christmas Recovering: After the present Lola could wish for; KIDNEY AND LIVER TRANSPLANT GIRL, 5, TO TUCK INTO HER FIRST FESTIVE DINNER.

Byline: Katy Hallam STAFF REPORTER

A GIRL of five will tuck in to her first ever Christmas dinner tomorrow after a kidney and liver transplant changed her life.

Lola Raine's surgery means she can finally leave her old diet of sausages and toast behind to enjoy a turkey lunch with all the trimmings.

The schoolgirl suffered from a rare condition which meant her body could not process potassium, found in a string of treats including chocolate, crisps, cereal and even fruit.

But, barely a week after returning home following a 14-hour transplant and a month's recuperation at Birmingham Children's Hospital, Lola plans to make up for lost time this Christmas.

And if she ever needs any advice about her culinary choices, she only has to look as far as her big sister Nicole.

The ten-year-old underwent the same surgery as Lola - at the hands of the same surgeon Dr Saba Sharif - three years ago, and now enjoys a varied diet.

Dad Tim, from Old Hill, near Cradley Heath, said: "Lola's been running around at home for the last week and she's doing really well.

"She's going to eat so much this Christmas to make up for the years when she missed out.

"She's really excited to be back home for Christmas - and for the presents.

"Before the op, she couldn't have potassium because her kidneys couldn't remove the waste properly.

"That ruled out almost everything.

"She was pretty much on a diet of sausages and toast before the transplant. But now she seems to be eating every time I turn around."

Lola and Nicole were both born with the rare Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease, which causes cysts to appear in the tubes that produce and transport urine and bile.

This leads to scarring and the eventual destruction of the healthy tissue of the affected organs. The condition can end in kidney and liver failure without a transplant.

After Nicole was diagnosed aged just two weeks, the couple were told there was a one-infour chance they would have other children with the condition.

Nicole sprang back to full health after her procedure but now the bone in her hip is starting to crumble.

"Nicole really can't walk very far at the minute," said Tim, a 46-year-old British Gas worker.

"She wanted to go dancing with her friends the other night and at first I told her she couldn't because of her leg.

"But I let her go and I was up all night with her in tears because of the pain "We don't know if it is related to the disease or not.

"We've been told we can see doctors in another country, but they will only be able to tell us whether it is related to the condition, not provide a solution.

"We've been told the only option is to have a hip transplant but she can't have that until she's 18."

Tim and his 36-year-old wife Natalie's other three children, nine-year-old Taylor, Molly, seven, and newest arrival, Lacey, three, are all clear of the condition.

Lola, a Year 1 pupil at Old Hill Primary School, spent two days in intensive care after her operation before being transferred to a high-dependency unit for two weeks.

"It was horrible waiting for her to come out of the operation because you feel helpless," Tim said.

"It was great to see her afterwards even though she wasn't feeling her best."

The family said they picked up a mine of information from Nicole's experiences, keeping Lola's hospital stays down to a minimum.

"This time we were more prepared for Lola's illness," Natalie said.

"We had learned so much from Nicole's experiences, we knew what to expect. As a result, Lola spent a lot less time in hospital than Nicole."

But now the family is facing a new challenge.

Surgeons suppressed Lola's immune system so her body did not reject her new liver and kidney.

But that means even a minor cough or cold could land her back in hospital and she will not return to school for three months.

"It's a challenge keeping her away from her brothers and sisters," said Tim.

"And she loves school so it is hard on her not being able to see all of her friends there for another three months."



Transplant: Lola in hospital.

Ready for Christmas: Lola with sister Nicole.

Back home: Lola with sister Nicole - who has also had a liver operation - and mum and dad Natalie and Tim.

Ready to unwrap their presents: Lola, aged five in the centre, with Nicole, 10, Molly, seven, Taylor, nine, and Lacey, three.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 24, 2012
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