A mother-of-two who made a desperate plea in her local newspaper for a kidney donor has undergone the life-saving transplant after a stranger answered her cry for help.
Former convict Wesley Joyce, 33, wanted to donate one of his kidneys to Sally-Anne Grainger to make up for his past mistakes.
Miss Grainger, who is still recovering at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after the operation on Friday, is overjoyed she will now have the chance to see her daughters Kelsey, 14, and Megan, 10, grow up.
The 34-year-old, from Warndon in Worcestershire, told the BBC: “I have no words to describe my gratitude.
“I’m just so overwhelmed that a stranger has come forward to donate his kidney. I didn’t expect it to happen, it only happens in movies.”
Mr Joyce, a former soldier, was jailed for four years for an assault in 2004, but has since turned his life around.
He was one of ten people who responded to Miss Grainger’s plea for help in the Worcester News and the only one to be confirmed as a suitable tissue and blood group match.
Cystic fibrosis sufferer Miss Grainger went into renal failure after having to take toxic medication following a double lung transplant in March 2009 . She was having dialysis treatment three times a week and described herself as “barely existing” when she made her plea for a donor in January.
Explaining his decision to help Miss Grainger, Mr Joyce, a father-of-four from Worcester, said: “I looked at her story and it got to me a bit. I looked at her children and I could not imagine the mums of my children not being there for them.
“I thought: ‘I need to change my life a little bit’, as I’ve not been a good boy all my life. I’ve done good things and bad things, but I thought, let’s do good from now on.
“This is a good place to start. Let’s save someone’s life.”
The pair are now close friends, with Miss Grainger giving Mr Joyce the nickname Wes Almighty, after the Jim Carrey film Bruce Almighty, in which an ordinary man becomes God.
She told her local paper: “I’m looking forward to doing the things people take for granted – seeing my daughter’s prom and going horseriding again.”
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust said it was delighted the transplant was going ahead but said it “would strongly discourage the use of media or social media in soliciting donors”.
Sources: Telegraph & BBC