A selfless woman is being praised after she donated her kidney to her ex-husband, five years after their divorce was finalized.
Dan Pyatt, 44, and ex-wife Kelly Hope, 43, who have two children together, began dating when they were 18. They got married 13 years later, in 2007.
Sadly, less than a year after their wedding, Dan fell ill with an aggressive type of kidney disease.
By September 2017, he was told his kidney function had fallen to just 8% and he was put on dialysis and on a deceased donor waiting list. At this time, the couple had divorced.
After 12 months on the waiting list and no donor, Kelly offered to donate one of her kidneys to the father of her children. But this led to a disagreement between the former couple as Dan said he didn’t want her to do that.
Kelly recalls telling her ex husband on his sick bed: “I’m going to get tested for a transplant.”
She added: “He said to me, ‘I can’t ask you to do that’. But I told him, ‘It’s not up to you. It’s my decision. I know what the risks are and I’m doing it.’
“Even though we weren’t together any more, I wasn’t prepared to let my children be without a father.”
The couple said they separated because they weren’t getting along anymore.
Kelly said: “We had different priorities, life pressures, work patterns. I was a PA at the time and Dan was a taxi driver so we were like ships in the night. We didn’t just walk away, but in the end we realised we couldn’t keep going around in circles.
“It was making the atmosphere at home horrible. It wasn’t healthy for the children, so we both decided it would be best to separate.”
But even after their divorce, they stayed friends and Kelly regularly went with him for his hospital apoointments as he was on dialysis three days a week for six hours on each of those days.
After Kelly offered to donate her kidney, tests showed she was a good tissue match, but their blood didn’t match. They were running out of time so, after considering the risks, they decided on a blood-incompatible transplant which involves removing antibodies from the blood to prevent rejection.
The operation was a success, and Dan was discharged just five days later.
Explaining why she made the sacrifice, Kelly said: “To me, I was giving a kidney to the father of my children and the best friend I’ve had since I was 11. We might not be married now, but we’re still very much a family and I had to make that sacrifice to keep our family together.”
As for Dan, he is still overwhelmed by his ex-wife’s extraordinary gesture.
He said: “It was truly a selfless act, to put your own life on the line to help someone else is amazing. Kelly will always be my hero.”