Brave six-year-old Sarah Emmott joins Kalvin Phillips at Leeds United match in search for kidney donor

Kalvin Phillips with Sarah Emmott at the Leeds United v Preston match. Picture Bruce Rollinson.
Kalvin Phillips with Sarah Emmott at the Leeds United v Preston match. Picture Bruce Rollinson.

Brave six-year-old Sarah Emmott walked on the Elland Road pitch for the third time on Boxing Day after the club joined the appeal to find her a live kidney donor.

Sarah has been battling a rare disease called Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome and other complex health problems since she was born.

Kalvin Phillips with Sarah Emmott at the Leeds United v Preston match. Picture Bruce Rollinson.

Kalvin Phillips with Sarah Emmott at the Leeds United v Preston match. Picture Bruce Rollinson.

After spending much of her childhood on medication and in hospital, her best chance of survival is now a kidney transplant.

The smiling schoolgirl was carried onto the pitch by her "favourite" player Kalvin Phillips before the Leeds United v Preston match.

Sarah's mum Ellie, dad Andy and big brother Dane, 15 were also there to support her and mum Ellie spoke directly to the 35,638 home and away fans.

Ellie, 46, said: "The atmosphere was electric. I can't put it into words the feeling when you walk out of the tunnel and see all those people. It's so loud and amazing.

Sarah Emmott with family dad Andy, mum Ellie and brother Dane, 15. Picture: Bruce Rollison.

Sarah Emmott with family dad Andy, mum Ellie and brother Dane, 15. Picture: Bruce Rollison.

"Sarah loved it and was so confident and comfortable with it whereas I found it really scary speaking on the mic to all those people.

"It's nerve-wracking when you have to do do something you're not used to and I felt sick all week thinking about it but when I was there talking to the crowds I felt like I was just talking to them in person.

"I realised it wasn't as scary because we're from Leeds, we're Leeds fans and this is our community. I felt comfortable.

"I wanted to address them face to face and say 'there's about 35,000 here, surely someone is the perfect tissue match for Sarah.'

The mother-of-two added: "We bumped into a family after the match who were walking back to their car.

"The mum said she was going to email and find out how to be tested as a donor so it's amazing that people really listened."

Leeds United earned a 1-1 draw against Preston with a late equaliser from Stuart Dallas.

Ellie said that although Sarah didn't really understand watch the football properly due to her age, she was really excited when Dallas scored the goal.

The six-year-old was also very excited to be reunited with her favourite player Kalvin Phillips.
Ellie said: "Kalvin's definitely still her favourite. He's so natural with her and so down to earth.

"He once came to our house after training at Thorpe Park to sign some shirts and see Sarah. It's out of his way and he doesn't need to do it but he's so genuine. I wish more young men were like him.

"It's so funny because she always spots him now if she's looking through the programme or watching TV - she'll shout "there's Kalvin!"

"We saw him again as we were leaving and she said "'Bye Kalvin, I'll see you soon or at my house next week.'

Ellie and her family also shared their thanks to the club and the fans for their support.

She said: "We just want to say thank you to everyone that goes out of their way to speak to Sarah and for how kind they are.

"She's part of the Leeds family now and we want to thank everyone for their support."

How can you help Sarah and be tested as a kidney donor?

Sarah needs a live kidney which means it must come from a living person who can donate one.

Her parents have been tested unfortunately they are not tissue matches.

If a live donor is not found, Sarah will be placed on the deceased donor list, while likely spending months on end in hospital dialysis.

Anyone who is willing to be tested as a kidney donor can find out more information by emailing leedskidneyappeal@nhs.net and referencing Sarah’s name.

You will automatically receive a reply email with further information on becoming a live donor along with a health questionnaire to complete.