It’s something every parent fears: an inexplicable medical emergency, and being told that their child is dying. For 37-year-old Lee Chester of Manchester, UK, it happened way too soon. Losing a child is always tragic, but Esme wasn’t a wounded soldier or a brave teenager facing cancer, she was a three-year-old toddler with no prior dangerous indicators. So it came as quite a shock when little Esme started spending 12 hours per day, 7 days per week, in the hospital for kidney dialysis, a procedure we usually think of for the older generation.
What’s a dad to do? Finding a donor is notoriously tricky. Matching blood types will get you partially there, but having the right protein markers severely narrows the field. Even Esme’s own mom Rachel wasn’t a perfect match, and though she would give everything for her daughter, a kidney would only keep the three-year-old alive for a few months, and then she’d need more dialysis and another transplant. An imperfect match meant her body would eventually reject the kidney.
But for Lee, this was an easy call. He was a perfect match, and his little girl was worth every second of anesthesia, changing diets, and the pain of going under the knife. For his daughter to have a healthy and happy childhood and long life, he gave up his kidney.
The experience prompted a new outlook on life. Chester wants everyone to consider becoming a registered organ donor. Says a relieved dad: “Everyone should sign up for it. It takes two minutes and it can change people’s lives forever.”SKM: below-content placeholder