With time running out for their sick daughter Anaya, parents Joety and Amrik Kandola launched a desperate last-ditch appeal for a kidney donor to save her life.
And just as all hope seemed lost, Surinder Sapal answered the couple’s Facebook plea offering to donate one of her organs to the two-year-old.
Tests showed the mum of two was a tissue match for Anaya and nine months later the kidney transplant took place, pulling the toddler back from the brink and a life on dialysis.
She is now thriving.
Amrik, 33, said: “They say super-heroes are unreal but I think we have a real-life super-hero here. Surinder is a dream come true to us.”
Joety, 34, added: “If she did not have this transplant I don’t think she would have made it. Time was running out. She didn’t have any energy, wasn’t sleeping, she couldn’t walk, constantly vomiting.
“For Surinder to come into our lives and share her kidney was phenomenal. Anaya is our little miracle.”
NHS worker Surinder had spotted the couple’s Hope4Anaya Facebook appeal last year to help the tot, who was born prematurely with a chronic disease that led to enlarged kidneys.
They had to be removed when she was weeks old.
Surinder, 36, who has daughters, Gurleen 10 and Hargun, six, said: “I saw this mum pleading for a kidney for her baby.
“I felt, ‘What if it was my child and I was unable to help?’ Anaya’s family described me as a super-hero, but I just see it as one mother helping another.”
Amrik and Joety, of Newcastle, had begged people to be donors and Surinder was one of 34 who offered to help.
She had tests in January and was found to be a one in 100,000 match.
The couple had been ruled out as a match for their daughter because her blood type had changed after having frequent transfusions.
Surinder, a radiographer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, and Anaya had their operations in September at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Amrik and Joety were not told the her name until later.
Surinder, of Wakefield, West Yorks, said: “The renal co-ordinator said they had a card from Anaya’s mum thanking me and she had written her mobile number on it. I was kind of excited to speak to her.
"It was an hour of Anaya’s mum saying thank you and me saying, ‘I’d just done what any mother would do.” Surinder was invited to Newcastle to meet the family four weeks later.
She said: “It was amazing seeing this person with a piece of me inside her thriving. They told me I am part of their family. I class her as a third daughter.”
Takeaway business owner Amrik added: “Surinder is credit to her family, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust and to the Sikh community.”
Surinder urged more people to become live donors. She said: “It feels amazing to give someone the gift of life.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust consultant renal transplant physician Dr Sunil Daga added: “Surinder’s act of selflessness has not only given a gift of life to Anaya but also to her family and will have a far-reaching positive effect.”
NHS campaign Pass it On is raising awareness of Max and Keira’s Law, inroduced after a Mirror campaign to bring in the “opt-out” rule.
It was named in honour of Max Johnson, 11, and his heart donor Keira Ball, nine, who died in 2017 after a car accident.
Anyone can come forward as a live donor and a local centre will medically determine if you can proceed to donation.
There are a number of tests involved.
For more details, go to NHS Blood and Transplant website; organdonation.nhs.uk
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