Alice Skinner was Britain’s youngest patient to go on dialysis after she was born without properly formed kidneys and has cheated death many times.
Now nine years on from a life-changing transplant, the Hartlepool 16-year-old is celebrating the end of school and looking forward to the future.
It was April 2009 when Alice, aged seven, was rushed to hospital when a suitable donor was found for her after four years on the waiting list.
Despite several setbacks over the years and dozens of operations, the transplant was a success.
Alice’s mum Nicola Frankland, 46, said: “It seems like yesterday at times. Here we are nine years later and she is doing great.”
Alice had to be fed through a tube in her stomach for many years when she was born without properly formed kidneys because of a disorder called renal osteodystrophy.
It affected just one baby in a million in the UK and Alice came close to death many times in those early days after the organs failed to develop in the womb and her body slowly poisoned itself.
She was Britain’s youngest patient to go on dialysis at the age of six months.
Four months after her transplant Alice was rushed back in when she turned grey and her lips turned blue.
And she underwent brain surgery due to build-up of fluid.
But now Alice, like millions of other teenagers, is looking forward to her school prom next week after completing her GCSE exams. She will join friends from St Hild’s School at Shotton Hall.
Nicola added: “Alice has done fantastic. Things have been a struggle over the years because of all the medical interventions.
“She was fitting in dialysis three days a week but now she is doing GCSEs with kids the same age, so I think she has done pretty well.”
Alice has to take about 20 tablets a day and will be on medication for life because of the transplant.
But Nicola said it is “a small price to pay”.
Recalling the day of her transplant Alice said: “I can just remember getting picked up from school and going to the hospital and drinking a can of Coke.
“Before the transplant I just felt tired all the time and missed out on school, but now I’m able to socialise with my friends more and go to school and do stuff.”
In the coming months, Alice will be looking into the possibily of making contact with the family of her donor.