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Dad raises money after daughter Daisy-May blossoms thanks to a kidney transplant from her mum

24 May 2021

A dad is celebrating his six-year-old daughter’s successful kidney transplant by cycling 1,600 miles to raise money for life saving kidney research.

Sheldon Crosby watched his daughter Daisy-May go from a shock diagnosis of kidney failure to dialysis, then transplant, in an emotional rollercoaster lasting 16 months.

Sheldon, Hayley, Daisy-May and Lily
Sheldon, Hayley, Daisy-May and Lily

Daisy-May is now thriving after mum Hayley donated a kidney for her transplant surgery, just three days before Christmas.

The family are taking part in our Transforming Treatment campaign to raise awareness of the impact on families of kidney disease.

Sheldon is also cycling in the 850 Challenge to pay forward his gratitude that despite she is making a good recovery.

Dad Sheldon said: “Knowing dialysis is the only thing keeping your child alive is a horrible blow as a parent.

Little girl with a big heart

Daisy-May is now thriving after mum Hayley donated a kidney for her transplant surgery, just three days before Christmas.

“Daisy-May had become tired and pale with blue lines round her eyes. Within 24 hours of transplant, her colour came back.

“Her energy Is unreal, and her appetite has returned. It’s lovely.

“She’s an extremely strong little girl. Even at her most poorly, she asked how the other kids were on the ward before asking how she was.

“It’s been extremely touching watching our little girl power through this with such strength and such a kind heart.”

Daisy-May and her little sister Lily
Daisy-May and her little sister Lily

Something wasn't right

Daisy-May’s illness came from nowhere at the age of four when she fell ill during a family holiday to Portugal.

She kept vomiting, which continued on their return to the UK, but doctors thought she had gastroenteritis so prescribed antibiotics. Daisy-May began reception class at primary school but became ill with swollen eyes and exhaustion.

“She never complained, despite going back and forth to the doctors. However, on picking her up from school one day she complained that her legs hurt even though it was only a 50 metre walk to the car.”

She was on her fourth set of antibiotics, but nobody had carried out blood tests.

“Something wasn’t right,” Sheldon said, “so we took her to hospital where they ran three lots of tests. The doctors were on the phone to specialists checking and re checking. We had no clue what was going on.”

Daisy-May in hospital
Daisy-May in hospital

Rushed to hospital

Things then moved fast. Daisy-May was blue lighted by ambulance to the Evelina specialist children’s centre at Guys Hospital at 2am, where, within 24 hours, she had surgery for a dialysis tube to be fitted.

“She had stage 5 kidney failure; it was such a shock.”

She also developed a hole in her heart from the pressure of toxins building up in her little body.

Dialysis began instantly and she remained in hospital for three weeks.

“Hayley was heavily pregnant at the time with our second daughter Lily, and as a man, I withheld my emotions to stay strong for them. I don’t think I properly processed it at the time.”

The couple discovered that Daisy-May had kidney problems from birth and had probably lived so well thanks to a healthy diet, including her favourite meal of salmon, broccoli, and rice. Also, she only drank water.

“I was a bit of a gym bunny, so we all ate healthily,” Sheldon said. “Turns out that probably kept her going.”

Mum was perfect match

After dialysing for over a year, the family suffered a blip when Daisy-May got an infection inside her dialysis tube, so she switched to haemodialysis, travelling from their home in Woburn Sands to London three time a week for treatment.

Her kidney transplant, scheduled for April 2020, was postponed due to Covid.

Dad Sheldon was originally set to go forward in the paired donor scheme, but when the number of these transplants were scaled down due to the pandemic, mum Hayley stepped forward as a perfect match.

“Hayley was going to save her kidney for if Daisy-May needs a transplant later in life, but due to Covid we changed our plans.”

Hayley and Daisy-May went into hospital wards alone on December 22, 2020, with no family support or visitors due to restrictions.

This was followed by a distressing month of isolation as they waited for Daisy-May to be allowed home.

Family isolated for a month

“It was tough. The reunion after our family had isolated from each other for a month was emotional to say the least,” Sheldon said. “There were hugs and tears.”

The experience has created one tough little cookie with a big heart.

“She’s a strong personality who likes asking questions,” says her proud dad. “She’ll always ask the nurse how her creatinine levels are doing!

“Daisy-May is doing really well, but I don’t want anybody else to go through what we have. I’d love it if research means kidney patients, especially young people, don’t have to go through transplant more than once.

“I hope Daisy-May’s transplant lasts her whole lifetime. For transplants to last forever would be incredible.”

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