A mother from Newcastle has taken to Twitter with a plea for kidney donors as she fears for her life.
Joanne D'Onofrio, 46, said she needed a kidney from a live donor"pretty quickly" as her body rejected a transplant after 24 years. The mum of two is currently on dialysis in Newcastle's Freeman Hospital after falling seriously ill. But after her plea online she has received more offers for a donor than she can count.
Ms D'Onofrio suffered kidney failure when she was 18 and had her first transplant a year later in 1991, but her body is now attacking the donor kidney. She made the call on social media on Monday, and received an overwhelming response from supporters, spreading her message with 29,000 retweets and 11,000 likes.
"I'm in desperate need of a kidney transplant & need a matching live donor," she said.
"I'm actually at the end of the road now so need one pretty quickly to save my life, I don't suppose there is anyone out in Twitterland who could help me with a social media campaign please?"
She said she was in hospital after a major haemorrhage and "nearly lost her life" - so she now needs a live donor with her "fairly common" O positive blood group. And after thousands of people jumped to build her social media campaign she said she was "overwhelmed" by the support, and she is still counting the number of offers from potential donors. "Its totally overwhelming, that there are just so many incredible, caring people out there," Ms D'Onofrio told the Standard.
"It's probably going to take time just to process everyone who has amazingly come forward offering to donate, never mind do all the tests, but I'm feeling the most positive and hopeful than I've felt in absolutely years. It's just incredible!" This morning the mum said she was going into an operating theatre to have a new dialysis line fitted to her lumbar vein, which she called "the last chance saloon in dialysis access."
There were 940 adult living-donor kidney transplants in the UK in 2017/18, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). Of those, 85 were "altruistic" - meaning kidneys were donated voluntarily to a stranger. A spokeswoman told the BBC: "For suitable patients, transplantation is normally the best treatment for end-stage kidney disease compared with dialysis.
"A transplant from a living kidney donor is often the best chance of a successful transplant."