Former UUP MLA Jo-Anne Dobson and her son Mark are both recovering well after she gave him the gift of new life in the form of one of her kidneys.
A surgeon removed Joanne’s kidney at 8.30am on Tuesday and by 12.30pm he was inserting it into her son.
“We are hearing everything is going well,” a family friend said. “It is good to hear there are no complications.”
Mark’s kidney problems began when the 24-year-old was just five weeks old.
He was given a kidney from a deceased donor in 2009.
But last January doctors discovered that it was failing and it had to be removed.
Since August 2017 he has been on dialysis at Daisy Hill Hospital three days per week – taking four hours at a time.
However, his mother on Tuesday put her life on the line to give her son a chance at a more normal life.
In February she was made a charity ambassador for Kidney Care UK.
“The surgeon told Joanne they are very happy with both surgeries,” the family friend told the News Letter.
Mark returned to the ward just before 8pm.
“Joanne had come back earlier and was on painkillers and oxygen. They are looking after her very well.”
The pair were to recover overnight in separate rooms and will see each other for the first time post-operation by mid-morning on Wednesday.
“Joanne is just sipping peppermint tea and chatting quietly,” her friend said. “That is what they give you to drink after surgery.”
The pair were inundated with messages of support on social media, from such diverse sources as TUV leader Jim Allister, Sky TV broadcaster David Blevins, and UUP representatives Steve Aiken, Roy Beggs and Ross Hussey.
UUP leader Robin Swann said: “Jo-Anne has been a champion for organ donation for as long as I have known her.
“She has fought the fight as a mother and as a politician and is giving a very public lead in practising what she preached.
“Her actions are an inspiration to us all and I wish her and Mark every success and a complete recovery.”