A Tale Of Love & Resilience: Thanks To Her Mum, Ulster Hospital Domestic Assistant Undergoes Life-Changing Kidney Transplant

19th February 2024
Shannon with her mum Joanne

“My mum is my hero, what she has done for me and my family has been simply amazing.  I can never repay her.  She has given me my life back”.  The words of transplant patient, Shannon Stewart as she shares how she received a live kidney donation from her mum Joanne Obsorne.

Shannon, a Domestic Assistant in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald was recently the 3,000th patient to undergo a transplant in Belfast City Hospital.

In June 2023, Shannon discovered she needed a kidney transplant and just six months later, had undergone her transformative surgery in January 2024, thanks to her amazing mum.

Shannon’s mum Joanne also works in the Ulster Hospital in the Post Room along with her father who is a Domestic Assistant, her sister who works in Pharmacy and her brothers who work in Catering and Portering.

Joanne had no hesitation whatsoever in stepping up when she knew her daughter needed help.

Sharing her transplant journey, Shannon said, “I had been having issues with my kidneys for some time and following a series of tests, it was discovered in June last year that I was in kidney failure and would require a transplant.  I was given a live donor card to hand out to those who would be interested in donating.  It took six months from finding out I had kidney failure to receiving the transplant which was amazing.  For me I didn’t need to undergo dialysis, I went straight to receiving the transplant which really helped with my recovery.

“I never had to ask my family if they would donate a kidney.  They all wanted to donate for me.  When I went into kidney failure, my mum and sister Shalane got tested and both were a match, however  mum was a better match for me.  I feel so blessed that it was mum who gave me her kidney, we went through it all together and I didn’t feel alone in my transplant journey. I am just so grateful to my mum that she was able to do this for me.

“Working in Health & Social Care makes me proud, seeing how hard everyone works, you see the day-to-day running of things, but you are never on the receiving end of it. Being a patient you see it from a different angle which is unreal.”

Straight after the surgery, Shannon said she felt amazing, having a new kidney has made such a difference.

Encouraging others to consider organ donation, Shannon added, “By donating, it can change someone’s life.  It has really changed my life.  I have a two-year-old son Grayson and going from exhausted all the time to now having a new lease of life, it’s just life-changing.  You are literally saving a life.”