Dobson thanks medics as son recovers from operation to remove kidney
Former MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has paid tribute to the medical professionals who helped her son Mark through a serious kidney operation this week.
Mark is now recovering at home from the surgery carried out at Belfast City Hospital.
The former UUP Upper Bann representative has been a dedicated campaigner for organ donation for many years.
Yesterday she wrote movingly on social media about her feelings as the date for son Mark's surgery neared.
"We knew this week had been coming over the past few months, but nothing prepared us for the emotion, the waiting, the worry and the sadness that comes with a transplant coming to an end.
"We are all so proud of our children, but John and I are doubly proud of Mark, having his first transplant at 15 and this week going through major surgery to remove that transplanted kidney.
"We all have a story and a journey through life and we have had eight years with our strong, healthy son and remain eternally grateful to the family who gave him the gift of life!"
A tireless fundraiser for kidney charities, the fomer MLA also introduced a Bill in the last Assembly which would have put in place a system of 'presumed consent' for organ donation.
Her Bill received initial support, but was later withdrawn when some of its clauses were opposed by the Assembly's health committee..
Addressing her thousands of Twitter followers, she wrote: "Thought I'd be a proud Mummy and share this pic of my brave boy taken in the City Hospital last Monday, the day before his surgery.
We've just got him back home to some TLC.
"God is good and we know he is watching over Mark as our transplant journey begins once again.
"We are so thankful to the amazing and wonderful doctors and nurses and Belfast City Hospital and at Daisy Hill - including his consultant transplant surgeon Mr Tim Brown and consultant nephrologist Dr Nela Morgan, who have been with us throughout the months of test leading up to this week."
South Down MLA Sinead Bradley of the SDLP was among the first to offer Jo-Anne her support.
"Thinking of you and your family Joanne," Ms Bradley wrote.
"Such a precious gift.
"There is always much to be thankful for.
"Best wishes to Mark", Ms Bradley posted on the former MLA's Twitter timeline.