New lease of life for nurse after kidney transplant

Most of us like to think of making a fresh start in the new year, but nurse Leann Defriend really will be following a kidney transplant three and a half months ago.

She returned to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust on Monday January 10 after having her transplant on her 33rd birthday.

Having qualified as a nutritionist, Leann has already used her time recovering to look after herself with healthy eating and exercise, which is even more important to her now to do justice to her donor.

She said: “All I know about my donor is that he was a 39-year-old male. I’m massively grateful for the gift he’s given me and I’m determined to do everything I can to make it last. I feel it’s the least I can do to show respect to him and his family.

“If his family hadn’t said yes to organ donation I would still be on the transplant list.”

Leann has hereditary kidney disease and had spent three years waiting for a donor kidney.

After six days in hospital, she returned to her home in Hornchurch to continue her recovery and found after just four weeks she felt great and has already been reaping the rewards of having more energy, after enduring gruelling kidney dialysis three times a week for three years.

Leann said: “I’m excited about what the future could bring and I’m still passionate about nursing so couldn’t wait to get back to work.”

Leann was unable to continue her role as a senior sister in our Emergency Department during the pandemic as she was on immunosuppressants, so was seconded to the nursing workforce hub last July, which she has returned to.

As well as being passionate about getting back to her nursing career, Leann also wants to use her experience to encourage everyone to be more open with their loved ones about their wishes regarding organ donation.

To find out more about organ donation, visit


Mick Ferris

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