27 Aug 2014

Alan Silcock

Three Transplants and still going strong photo available

Alan Silcock turned 60 in Oct last year, a milestone for anyone but Alan a miraculous one.  Way back in 1968 Alan and his Dad, Jim, underwent what was pioneering surgery, Jim became a live kidney donor to Alan who was 14 years old at the time and suffering from chronic renal failure.  The surgery was carried out by Prof Roy Calne at Addenbrookes Hospital and it was last chance saloon for Alan and his Dad; the op was a great success and both were soon back home on the farm in Lancashire.

Alan lived life like a normal teenager and met me, Ann, when he was 20 and we married two years later in 1976 and have gone on to have three children, Marion, Andrew & Matthew.

In the summer of 1987 Alan’s transplant began to fail, it was devastating for everyone, he was admitted to MRI and haemodialysis kept him going which was not easy when you are a farmer but you keep doing what you can.  Jan 1989 brought the middle of the night phone call – ‘we have a kidney for you’ so off we went and again the op went well and after a few hiccoughs the kidney settled down.

About 6 years later things started to slow down, the kidney wasn’t functioning well, it kept plodding along until 2001 when dialysis was suggested by Dr Gill Hirst, she kept us both positive through challenging times.  This time CAPD was used, a much more user friendly method, life on the farm carried on.

Our daughter Marion married Carol and made us grandparents in 1999 and again in 2001, Georgia then Chloe, very welcome distractions.  Our eldest son Andrew was working with us on the farm, which was a great help, youngest son Matthew also helped when he could.  Dad Jim kept an eye on us as well.

Having had two transplants, you think you have had your share, but not so, another early morning phone call on in Dec 2003 saw us setting off to MRI for a third transplant.  A full day of tests and Alan went to theatre at 6pm, by 9.30pm he was ringing home to let us know he was OK.  Thing didn’t go well to start with, a couple of visits back to theatre and then Alan was fit, which was scary.  A week later things really started to settle down and around day 10 he came home.

We now have two more grandchildren, Jamie and Cassie and our daughter-in-law, Lisa.

Sadly Jim passed away in 2009 at the age of 83, his wife Ada had been looking after him during a short illness.  His generous gift of life to Alan all those years ago brings us to where we are now.

After a family party at home, we celebrated Alan’s 60th with a surprise party at the local village hall.  Around 120 people helped us keep it a surprise; that takes some doing.  Rather than presents we suggested donations to “Kidneys for Life” and “Multiple Sclerosis Society”, our daughter Marion was diagnosed with MS last year.  Thanks to everyone who donated, we raised £750 for Kidneys for Life and £500 for MS and had a really good night with our family and friends.

Without MRI and all their support, things would have been very different.  Colin Short – always positive, Sheila Russell – always helpful, Sue Perrin and Anne Palmer for making dull clinic visits fun and all the many doctors and nurses we have seen over the years and continue to see.  A very big THANK YOU.

            Ann & Alan Silcock