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Transplant recipient's tribute to mum for 100-year-old kidney

By Tom Wilkinson

A woman with a 100-year-old kidney she received from her mother in the 1970s is thought to have the world's oldest successfully transplanted organ.

Sue Westhead received the kidney in 1973 when her mother, Ann Metcalfe, was 57. Now, 43 years on, it is still going strong.

Doctors usually estimate a transplant from a living donor will last 20 years at most.

Sue, who is from Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, shared her story with BBC Newcastle.

When diagnosed with kidney disease, she was found to have only one tenth of normal renal function. Now 68, she remembered being fearful about how the operation would go. She told BBC Newcastle: "It was a pretty scary time - even when I was still on the ward, people were dying. I remember thinking if I get five years I'll be happy.

"That was 43 years ago and my kidney is heading for 101-years-old in November."

She added: "My mum literally gave me life, because I wouldn't have lived much longer.

"I could hardly walk, I was a different colour - I was yellow and all of a sudden I had a rosy glow."

Her mother would have been 101 this year, she added, and paid tribute to her "good genes".

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