It was in 1990 that Sue Scott took the decision to donate a kidney to her daughter, Serena, who has Cystinosis. Now, in 2011, the Scott family are celebrating the 21st anniversary of the transplant that has transformed Serena’s life.
Serena has no doubt this operation saved her life, as she was already suffering from kidney failure. She was fortunate enough that several family members were matches for the transplant and, having considered the effects on the family, it was Serena’s mum, Sue, who bravely elected to donate the life-saving kidney. Rejection is always a concern for transplant operations, but Serena tells us that Sue was a 99% match: "Mum says it was like putting a brand new battery in me and I was charged up!".
After 5 days in hospital Serena was well enough to come home and both she and her mum have had no major complications with respect to the transplant, although Serena did have regular visits to the children’s hospital in Sydney for blood treatment. "I’m getting on fabulously. Apart from the complications of Cystinosis and getting older I’m in great health. Although I need to have regular naps in the afternoon!" jokes Serena. And when talking about her relationship with her mum, Serena says, "My mum and I have been best friends because of it!".
The entire family are very active in the Cystinosis community. Sue currently runs the Australian Cystinosis Support Group, actively raising funds as well as personally offering support to those whose lives are affected by Cystinosis – an incredibly hard job, given the size of Australia compared to the small number of families within the Cystinosis community. Sue is also very well known on the international scene having attended several of the International Cystinosis conferences and sitting on expert panels during family sessions at these conferences. Sue was accompanied by her husband Alan and daughter Melissa, as well as Serena, to the last conference near Venice in 2010, with Melissa compering the celebratory presentation of retired medical expert Dr Schneider’s pioneering achievements within the field of Cystinosis.
So this anniversary is not only a celebration of 21 years since Serena’s successful transplant, but also of their years of voluntary work and commitment to the Cystinosis community. Their work and friendship is greatly appreciated by many both in Australia and much further afield!