Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

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A woman whose nine-year-old daughter went into total kidney failure after she caught Covid is preparing to donate one of her own organs, to give her another chance at life.

Beth Conway, from West Sussex, lives with a condition called C3, which meant that her immune system would attack her kidneys whenever she had a cough or a cold.

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Her mum, Amanda, a finance manager, said her kidneys “were not 100 per cent”. However, the family had been under the impression there was a good five to ten years before they had to consider a transplant.

All of this changed when Beth became unwell a week before Christmas last year. While she initially tested negative for Covid on a lateral flow test, Amanda said she exhibited Covid symptoms including stomach sickness and a high temperature.

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Her condition deteriorated as the year drew to a close and Beth was in and out of hospital in the new year, due to issues with her kidneys. She was rushed to Evelina Children’s Hospital from Worthing Hospital by ambulance on February 7, the same day she tested positive for Covid.

Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

Beth has spent much of this year in hospital, but is now back at her family home in East Preston with her dialysis machine

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Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

Beth with her sister, 10-year-old Hannah, in hospital

Her kidneys failed two days later, said Amanda, who believes Covid “destroyed” both of her daughter’s kidneys and made the severeness of her condition escalate.

Several days into Beth’s stay in the Evelina, Amanda said she was woken up to doctors calling: “oxygen, oxygen”.

Speaking to The Mirror, Amanda said it was “horrible”, her voice cracking as she described how it felt to watch her daughter deteriorate in front of her eyes. Doctors put a cannula in her stomach – which she still lived with now – and pumped her full of antibiotics and immune suppressants.

Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

Amanda said Beth was looking forward to getting back to her active lifestyle ( Image: Conway family)

Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

Amanda said Beth had been “amazing” during her time in hospital

Throughout all of this, Amanda said Beth was “amazing”.

“But she’s so laid back, she sort of takes everything in her stride,” she said. “She’s so proud of her cannula; she can’t wait to get back to school to show everybody this tube sticking out of her stomach.”

Beth had now been out of hospital for just a few weeks. Her dialysis machine, which she had nicknamed “huggy bear”, was a new fixture in the Preston family home with Beth remaining hooked up to it for nine hours during the night, seven days a week.

The schoolgirl, who once loved PE, gymnastics and riding her bike, was largely bed bound, and got around in a wheelchair accompanied by Amanda or her dad, account manager Paul Conway.

She would stay on her dialysis machine until she had her kidney transplant, which was due to take place in five to six months with Amanda being her donor.

Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

Beth with her sister, 10-year-old Hannah ( Image: Conway family)

Mum to donate own kidney to sick daughter, 9, after Covid 'destroyed' hers

Beth pictured before she became ill, with her mum Amanda, dad Paul and sister Hannah

“After she has a transplant, she should be back to normal, like a normal child,” Amanda said. “But what we don’t know is how the Covid has affected her and how long that will take to recover from.”

While Amanda said she had now “come to terms” with the idea of being Beth’s donor, she had initially been “absolutely terrified”.

“She says to me that she’s going to have a little bit of me inside her. She loves it, which I think is lovely,” Amanda said. “But for me it’s quite scary.

“It’s all the things that go around in your head – ‘is there something wrong with my kidney, will she reject it?’”

“You don’t know any of these things until it happens.”

“But as parents, we have to be so positive about everything. We can’t break down, or lose it, we can’t show any emotion that is negative towards anything going on around her. Because as soon as we do, she picks up on it.

Amanda is now fundraising to throw Beth an early birthday party ahead of the life-changing procedure. The hope was that she’d be able to celebrate as a normal kid for a day with her friends and a spread from Pizza Hut before the operation and a substantial recovery period.

“We’ve got a really tough time ahead of us,” the mum explained. “She’s been so good and brave, that we want to do something for her, but the expense of staying in hospital has just cleared us out.”

While Beth’s birthday was in August, Amanda was aiming for the party to be held in June, at their local Legion.

“They have a function room upstairs, and we’re trying to organise her the ‘ultimate party package’,” Amanda said. “She would get three entertainers, she’ll have a magician, a DJ and a ventriloquist.”

In the wake of the family’s horror experience, Amanda wanted to raise awareness of how Covid did attack other organs – not just the lungs.

The family planned to donate any money raised over and above their fundraising target of £1,000, to London’s Evelina Hospital, to help others whose lives were turned upside down by illness, like theirs had been.

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