A WOMAN has saved her sister's life by donating one of her kidneys in a transplant which is one of only 20 to have been carried out in the country.
Rachel Thompson, 37, of Princes Park Close in Hayes, decided to act when her sister's donated kidney failed after 22 years.
Her sister, Jane Verity, 39, of Church Road, Hayes, had to undergo a procedure called plasmapheresis as the siblings are of different blood groups. This involved having her blood filtered to help its compatibility with that of her sister.
Both women have made a full recovery since leaving hospital and Jane is now able to return to her role as a foster mother.
She also has two children of her own, Stanley, nine, and Stephanie, 15, and over the years has fostered more than 100 children.
Jane had her first transplant at 11 years old after she caught a rare condition called Goodpasture's Disease which affected both of her kidneys.
Rachel said: "I knew that I could live a normal life with one kidney and I just thought by giving her one of mine I would be able to give her her life back."
"Jane has a really lively personality, but once she was on dialysis she couldn't go out or do half the things she used to before and I couldn't let her carry on going through that.
Jane said: "My sister has given me a new lease of life.
"I can't thank her enough for it, she has been a dream the whole way through.
"Your doctors say ask a family member, but you just can't, so I was overwhelmed when my sister said she wanted to be a donor."
She explained that before the surgery she used to go to the Royal Free Hospital in London three times a week for kidney dialysis which would last three hours each time.
As part of National Transplant Week, which ended on Sunday, the sisters have encouraged anyone thinking of becoming a potential donor to register with the organ donor database.
Visit www.uktransplant.org.uk for more information.