Iilona’s Story

Iilona & her Dad

Iilona & her Dad

My name is Iilona Nielson. I offered my dad one of my kidneys as an alternative to dialysis, which was proving problematic for him. After much testing the date was set for March 9th 2011. I had 3 primary school age children , and had weighed up the pros and cons and felt confident that I was making the best decision for my family.

I had always desired a fourth child, but had suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum , severe/prolonged vomiting, dehydration and weight loss  leading to hospital admittance usually for me around week 7 of pregnancy. I knew what I went through in pregnancy and thought that giving a kidney surely could not be as difficult .

I had been willing to endure physically to give life to the generation below me, so why not go through a short period of physical discomfort for the generation above me? The transplant was an immediate success, and the recovery much faster than I had anticipated.

After life settled back to normality I still had those feelings about another child. I started to look into adoption, both domestic and foreign. My brother is adopted , and so I was very open to the idea. I came into contact with and started to care for a one year old girl who was living in difficult circumstances and was potentially going to be removed from the family. The more I took care of her, the more I wanted another child.

I went to visit Dr. Kwan  in Altnagelvin, to ask his advice, considering my previous experiences and now only having one kidney. He saw no reason that donating a kidney would prohibit me from having another child.

Now this is the rather incredulous part. During my fourth pregnancy, now minus a kidney, I was in great health. I was never admitted to hospital and never vomited. I exercised, travelled and worked up until 12 days before the delivery.

I had an easy, yes that’s the word I’m choosing, easy delivery. Often in life limits are set , either by society, others opinions or more frequently ourselves. We are all capable of much more than we think. Lucy belle is proof of that for me.


Lucy Belle

She is now walking, talking and bringing joy to her family every day. Before I donated my kidney , I really thought that I would never be the same again, that maybe I would be 90% of the previous me. It’s just not true.