Published on the 23 November 2014 16:30
A teenager who underwent a life-saving kidney transplant aged just 12 has spoken about her experience in a landmark commemorative event.
Hannah Whitaker, from Harrogate, became seriously ill in 2011 and was diagnosed with kidney failure.
On dialysis for nine months, her dad donated a kidney and her transplant operation was a success.
Three years on, Hannah told her story at an event marking the 4,000th kidney transplant at the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, giving a presentation on how the operation changed her life.
She said: “I really looked forward to meeting everyone at the event, and to giving my talk.
“I am so grateful for the transplant and care I received at the hospital. To be able to share that and explain how it has changed my life is a real privilege.”
Now aged 14 and in year 10 at Rossett School, Hannah said she enjoys drama and anything theatre-related. She is on daily medication and has regular check-ups, but is otherwise healthy and happy.
Her mum, Claire Whitaker, said: “Hannah isn’t dwelling on her experience, but will be showing how life has changed since the operation.
“And it’s a thank you to the staff. When Hannah was first on dialysis it was the school holidays, but she was adamant she was not going to miss her first day at Rossett. The renal team reorganised the days for her treatment to ensure she could be there.”
Having missed so much, Hannah was behind her classmates in many subjects. However, her mum said the support from staff at Rossett helped her to catch up quickly. Last June, Hannah took two GCSEs and achieved an A in French and a B in Drama.