Sign up for organ donor register to help sufferers like Adam, 17
THE family of a teenager with no kidneys are urging people to sign the organ donation register.
When Adam Williams was just six months old, he contracted meningitis but, despite his mum seeking urgent medical help, the infection was so severe it left both his kidneys defunct.
Although the 17-year-old recovered, it left an indelible mark on his life, which experts say only happens to around 50 in every one million children in the UK.
"It has been hard, but you get used to it," said his mother, Julie, 42, of Norman Street, Hucknall.
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Adam, whose mental development was also adversely affected, has had two kidney transplants – but both failed.
His first took place when he was five but the new kidney worked for only four weeks before it began to fail and had to be surgically removed.
Two years later, Adam and his family thought their luck was in, when another donor match was found and the Bracken Hill School pupil had a second transplant in 2001.
But after four-and-a-half years of relatively good health, this kidney also started to fail and left Adam needing dialysis.
For five hours on three days a week, he has to be strapped to a dialysis machine at the Queen's Medical Centre to cleanse his body.
But there is a long-term risk to having dialysis.
"The longer he uses dialysis, the more strain is being put on his heart. I don't think anyone can survive longer than 30 years on dialysis because it causes other health problems," said his mum, who quit her job in a shop to become Adam's full-time carer.
Consultant Dr Andrew Lunn said: "The best option for Adam is to get him a transplant – this will give him the best quality of life.
"Although the dangers of using long-term dialysis are greater for adults, it is still a real problem for young people in Adam's situation. It can lead to other health complications."
Adam cannot eat solids and is fed through a drip at night.
He and his family are supporting the hospital's Be A Hero campaign, which is encouraging more people to sign up to the organ donation register.
Simply carrying a donor card does not mean you are on the register. People need to join the database at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
There are 10,000 people in need of a transplant in the UK, and three die every day while waiting.
Anyone can register on the NHS organ donor register – age isn't a barrier to being an organ and/or tissue donor, and neither are most medical conditions.