Stuart Kilgannon has really proved himself to be the best man after he has pledged to donate a kidney to his best friend’s wife.
Stuart stood next to Shaun Stefanovic and his now wife Leanne on their wedding day, and has made the decision to provide a literal lifeline to Leanne who suffers from kidney disease and needs nine hours of dialysis every day.
Leanne was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2007 and as a result she is constantly tired. She is hoping that she will return to health after the operation.
Leanne, 30, said: “I really feel like I’m ready for the transplant now. Lately, I have felt more tired than normal. I feel really rundown and I want to get a spring back in my step again. Stuart is putting himself on the surgery table for me. I’m extremely grateful because I could have been waiting another five or ten years.”
Shaun and other family members were tested, but Stuart emerged as the only match.
“Leanne calls me a hero – but I’m not. I’m starting to get a little bit nervous now. It’s more painful for the donor than the recipient because it’s more of an invasive operation. They are taking something out and your body has to get used to something being missing. But to see Leanne’s life improve dramatically, it will be worth it 100 per cent.”
Stuart told of how difficult life had become for Leanne: “It’s starting to affect her more and more and her energy levels seem to be dropping more. If she goes anywhere for a great length of time, she has to take everything with her. Lots of things we take for granted, such as a weekend away with your partner, she can’t do.”
Leanne is hoping to start a family if the transplant is a success: “At present, that choice has been taken away from me. I have been told not to get pregnant because I could die and the baby could die. Having a baby puts strain on a healthy person’s kidney, never mind someone whose are in failure. There is something missing in our lives. I can’t wait to get my freedom back.”