Northern Ireland

Eglinton woman donates father her kidney

Robert Smyth with his daughter Iilona
Image caption Iilona Neilson has donated a kidney to her father, Robert Smyth.

An Eglinton woman has undergone surgery in Belfast to donate a kidney to her father.

Robert Smyth, who is 73, has had renal illness for 40 years, and is now looking forward to the possibility of life without dialysis.

His daughter, Iilona Neilson, decided to give her kidney after other family members found they were not suitable.

A spokesperson for the City Hospital in Belfast said they were both "stable" following Wednesday's operation.

Speaking before surgery, Mr Smyth said he had written a poem for his daughter to express his love and gratitute.

"The poem relates how much I appreciate her, love her, and thank her for the life-giving donation of a kidney - the sacrifice she is making for me.

"It's only when you have a question hanging over you that your life gets new meaning.

"I have had this problem for a considerable number of years. It's got to the point over the last while it's either dialysis or death."

Iilona said the operation had a 96% success rate, and she was hoping to be home for Friday.

"I don't think I would change my mind or make any other decision," she said.

Her main concern was not about the operation, but about her three children.

"My eldest daughter is away on a school trip so that's really good. She will be busy. The other two kids are at home.

"I think I'm more worried about the domestics and who's going to take them where and getting them organised."

Her father said he was being well looked after in hospital, "I'm having a nurse take my slippers off and my socks as they give me dialysis."

"The prospect of having a new kidney and having a new lease of life gives a new outlook on life. It brightens up your whole future."

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