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Father's gift of life for boy, 10

A 10-year-old boy left facing death from a rare medical condition has been granted a new lease of life after his father donated his own kidney to him.

Raphael Havard was was left in complete kidney failure, needing hours of dialysis a day, after developing the rare condition.

But he is now facing a happy, healthy life, after father Duane, 51, stepped forward, donating his kidney to save his own son.

A year on, the family's story is being told in the documentary My Life: Me, My Dad & His Kidney, to be screened on BBC1.

Manchester United fan Raphael first fell ill in February last year. Mr Havard and his wife Anna, 35, from Bedford, took him to the doctors and he was originally diagnosed with a stomach bug, and later with gastritis.

But as his condition continued to worsen over the next few days, he was rushed to hospital. Doctors consulted Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) with the then nine year-old's alarming test results.

His "creatinine" level, a way of measuring kidney function, was exceedingly high - the average level for a child is 30-57 micromoles per litre and Raphael's was 1,044 - showing his kidneys were not filtering his blood.

At Great Ormond Street Raphael was diagnosed complete kidney failure, caused by rarely-seen illness Goodpasture's Syndrome. The disease means the body's own immune system reacts against some parts of itself, creating antibodies that attack the lungs and kidneys.

Raphael's only hope of recovery rested with a kidney transplant. Both his mother and father volunteered as donors - deciding it should be his father who donated the organ.

The operation on November 15 was followed by an anxious six-week wait to see if it was a success. And a few months later, the family's life is starting to get back to normal - Raphael went back to school in January and his father is back at work.


From Belfast Telegraph