Andrea Sargeant

3rd of May, 2021

Andrea Sergeant Story

I gave my daughter a kidney but now I wonder where her next one will come from!

Andrea and Honour

Andrea Sergeant had suspicions that something was not right with her four and half-year-old daughter Honour, and within a year had donated a kidney to Honour.

At age 4.5yrs my previously energetic daughter Honour, showed changes that raised my suspicions something was wrong. She was drinking lots of fluids, having toilet accidents, she stopped gaining in height and weight and was pale and anaemic looking. She had been diagnosed with ocular motor apraxia as a baby, which is also linked to renal issues.

Due to a normal ultrasound 6 months previously, the Pediatrician and Geneticist I visited with Honour passed off my concerns as behavioural rather than medical. However, with a sister in law with kidney failure in her late teens, I was more aware of signs and implications than most other parents would have been, which encouraged me to push for further tests. In hindsight, I should have pushed for a blood test rather than just a urine test in the earlier visits, as nephronophthisis detection requires a blood test.

Finally, in Feb 2019, a pediatrician agreed to add kidney and diabetes tests to a celiac test. Her bloods came back with a creatinine level of over 245 when a normal level is 45 – 90. Honour was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure and transferred immediately to Starship Hospital while they worked out her diagnosis.

My biggest emotional moment was a couple of days later when I asked the specialist how much kidney function she had, and was told 13%!  I was shocked as I knew the immediate and long term implications of this having been seen by my sister in law’s kidney journey.

Before Honour’s diagnosis, I decided to start being tested as a potential donor for my sister in law who had had one kidney transplant but was needing a second transplant after 25yrs. I had delayed telling her as I felt prayerful that I was to wait.

Our family (of five now) live on a renal roller coaster – the peak of the climb is a transplant and then the downhill is going on dialysis -  that will be Honour and our family’s future. Right now we are at the top yet it is still challenging as Honour requires a high level of care, being susceptible to urinary tract infections and diarrhea and requiring regular meds and fluids.

As a now 7-year-old she has had to go through a lot of medical procedures  - tubes and needles are terrifying and emotionally draining for her. At Starship, there is a great play specialist and playroom which provides opportunities to learn coping strategies. She has used a rubber glove to get the experience of taking an IV in and out.

I home school Honour and we take her to Brownies and the local homeschool hub which connects her with others. We have a great and supportive wider family that she is in regular contact with.

Following my kidney donation, there has been no impact on my health at all. I would give a kidney over and over if I could, to give someone that chance of a better life.  I wish I could give my other one to my sister in law who is currently on home haemodialysis.

My advice to others is to go with your instinct and advocate. Keep pushing if something is not right. Take one day at a time and deal with one thing at a time. I do wonder where Honour’s next kidney will come from or whether technology will provide a solution but we just try to take each day as it comes and enjoy each other’s company.