Lynne Goldthorpe, 68, of Yeadon, was 35 when she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) after a consultant noticed her blood pressure was too high.
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition where abnormal cysts develop in the kidneys.
Around 700,000 people in the UK are thought to have PKD and according to the NHS, on average, half of those will require treatment for kidney failure by the time they’re 60.
By the time Lynne was diagnosed the condition had caused irreversible damage to her kidneys.
Lynne said: “I was told that PKD is an inherited condition and I would at some point end up on dialysis. I had no idea where this had originated as both my parents had sadly died when I was four but at this point I had three children of my own so knowing that there was a 50 per cent chance of my children having the condition left me devastated.”
To begin with, Lynne suffered from fatigue and occasional pain from the cysts bursting but in December 1999 she was forced to give up work as a nursery nurse when she became very unwell, including vomiting after meals.
Under the care of the renal team at St James’ Hospital she started peritoneal dialysis in April 2000 - an at-home dialysis treatment which she had to undergo four times a day, for half an hour each time.
It was at this point that her brother Guy, who lives in Wales, immediately offered one of his kidneys.
Lynne said: “He said ‘You can live on one kidney can’t you? Well I could give you a kidney?' And I said no because he was my younger brother and just the thought that if it went wrong, I had taken something from him.
“But he contacted the hospital himself and started the ball rolling himself. He’s an amazing brother.”
After rigorous testing, Guy was found to be a match and when Lynne was strong enough, following a further 10 months of dialysis, the operation took place on February 2 2001.
Lynne said: “The next morning, he visited me with his drip of morphine and other attachments with his thumbs up in the air.
“Our bond began - I not only had a working kidney but a very special brother.”
She told the YEP: “It changed my life - the fact that I was able to do things, I was less tired, I stopped being sick after every meal.”
“These last 20 years have allowed me to be a wife and a mother and to see my children get married and between them they have given me six beautiful grandchildren to cherish and watch grow up,” she added.
Lynne also paid tribute to the renal team at St James who continue to provide her with “amazing” care.
“I love my life and with the fantastic care of my renal team, I hope to enjoy many more years. I’m also forever indebted to my brother, who I love so much.”
More information about kidney disease can be found at www.kidney.org.uk.