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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Cumbrian dad steps up to give his daughter a kidney

A Cockermouth father has given his daughter a new lease of life – by donating his kidney.

Norman Pitts photo
Norman Pitts and his daughter Julie Irving

Seventy-four-year-old Norman Pitts didn’t think twice after his daughter Julie Irving, who has had health problems for 30 years, was told her kidneys were only working at 10 per cent capacity earlier this year.

Her kidney condition was never considered serious until it worsened after the birth of her daughter Kerry in 1985.

“When I found out about it there was never a doubt in my mind that I would put myself forward,” Mr Pitts, of Henry Street, Cockermouth, said.

“There was no way I wanted to see her go through dialysis if I could help it.”

Norman and his other daughter Shirley Ward put themselves forward as potential donors and after tests found out they were both compatible.

“I always felt I was a reasonably fit person and I just feel very lucky that I was compatible with Julie,” he said. “It is marvellous that I have been able to do it and I don’t feel any different at all.”

Both Mr Pitts and daughter Julie Irving, 51, of Langdale Drive, are now recovering after the major transplant.

It means that Julie, who has had health problems since she was 21, now has a kidney operating at 97 per cent.

Mr Pitts, former assistant operations manager for parks and cemeteries at Allerdale Council, is vice chairman of Cockermouth Rugby Union club.

He and Julie had the operation in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital after she was told that if she didn’t get a new kidney she would have to go to a dialysis machine.

She said: “This is a million times better than what dialysis would have been. I am just glad dad could do something to help.”

Julie is taking 30 tablets a day to make sure her body does not reject the kidney and visits Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary three times a week for tests.

Both she and Norman have to take it easy until after Christmas.

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