Express & Star

'I was given six months to live': Woman marks 30 years since life-saving transplant

A woman has marked being one of the longest surviving kidney transplant patient in the city.

Elizabeth Latham has marked 30 years since her life-saving kidney transplant

Elizabeth Latham, aged 64, from Penn, Wolverhampton, underwent a life saving kidney transplant on April 4, 1990, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

She said: "My father died of kidney failure before I was diagnosed, then I was diagnosed in 1988.

"I was given six months to live.

"We had the call the night before from Dr Jackson from New Cross Hospital at 11:50pm he said 'I'm sorry to disturb you but we've got a kidney for you and I am so thrilled'.

"At this point I had been having dialysis for two years and had really had enough, I couldn't cope anymore.

"I didn't know what to expect after the transplant, but I felt like a newborn, when my husband and mother came in they were staggered. I knew straight away how different I felt.


"The doctors told me it couldn't have gone any better, and I am so grateful to the person who gave me their kidney as it has given me a new life."

Although Elizabeth encountered some difficulties after her operation, she was discharged after two-and-a-half weeks.

She added: "When I came home I remember being nervous, because I didn't know what I was coming back to.

"When I got home, the neighbours were all out with cards, flowers and banners. They had decorated the house for me and I felt like quite the celebrity."

Now, 30 years on she has celebrated the milestone.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth's plans for a special weekend away with her husband Peter, 67, were cancelled due to coronavirus, so instead she had to stay at home.

Elizabeth Latham, with her husband Peter Latham, has marked 30 years since her life-saving kidney transplant

She said: "When I left the QE Hospital back in 1990, Professor Barnes, who performed the lifesaving operation, told me that it was one of the most excellent matches in kidney transplants they had ever seen.

"He said as long as I was sensible, attended clinics - which I still do - and take my medication I would have a excellent length of life, which I have.

"He also said 'I want you to be like Her Majesty the Queen and treat every anniversary like a second birthday and celebrate each one'.

"I was gutted that we had to cancel, it has been devastating that we couldn't do anything to celebrate, instead me and my husband had a nice meal at home.

"We have other plans for the future, hopefully, but it won't be as special as it won't be on the actual date."

To mark previous anniversaries, Elizabeth has hosted fundraising parties which have raised thousands to help other patients.


She added: "10 years ago we had a transplant and fundraising night with more than 100 people at the Woodfield Sports and Social Club, we were joined by family, friends, nursing staff and patients from New Cross Hospital.

"Our guest of honour was ex-Wolves goalscorer John Richards, as I'm a big Wolves fan.

"We had a big raffle and auction, including a signed Wolves shirt and we raised more than £2,000 for the New Cross Kidney Patients Association.

"Things spiralled from there after that, I was invited for an appearance on the Joanne Malin chat show and also got to meet Nick Owen.

"I am so glad I have these happy memories to hang on to, and I wish my parents could be here to see me reach this milestone.

"When I went for my last check up before Christmas the doctor told me I was one of the longest surviving patients in Wolverhampton.

"I just think it's extraordinary, and I am extremely grateful that I'm here to tell the tale and I hope my story can bring some positivity to others."