You are here: Home > Kathy   Go Back


Kathy and Ralph
Distant Cousins' Very Special Bond: snippet written by Kathy to insert in the local news-sheet distributed in the mobile-home park where Kathy and her husband Ralph now live.

A long term hobby for Kathy was tracing her family tree: little did she realize this intriguing hobby would come to save her life. Through this hobby Kathy made contact with a distant cousin via a Canadian relative who brought them together: they shared a surname and the same great, great, great, grandfather; the cousin Jeanette Hipsey and Kathy now share a special lifetime bond. In 2000 Kathy was diagnosed with 'nephrotic syndrome' a form of kidney failure. Kathy was treated with drugs until Christmas 2004 when she was rushed into hospital and was put onto dialysis, for hours at a time, three times a week. As dialysis continued Kathy was put on the waiting list for a transplant, but her cousin was able to come to her rescue by offering one of her own kidneys, which proved a match. The successful operation went ahead in June 2007. Until this point Kathy said "Our lives were on hold, living day to day. I don't think people realise just how important being a donor is - untill it happens to you". Cousin Jeanette worked for 40 years as a nurse and medical secretary for the NHS and said that offering the kidney was an obvious choice for her. "I have carried a donor card for years and I wanted to do this for Kathy, because she is such a courageous lady". Kathy said: "it's strange, I always enjoyed a gin and tonic, but Jeanette never took a drink. When I came out of hospital I no longer felt like touching a drop". Kathy's health is slowly continuing to improve but she is still in need of medical support. The cousins say they have become much closer in many ways.