A devoted boyfriend proved he is the perfect match for his partner… by donating his kidney to save her life.
Steve Hardwick, 39, gave the precious gift to Angie Wakefield as she fought Lupus disease, which attacked her immune system.
It left her with kidney failure and requiring dialysis treatment. Steve decided to see if he could be a donor and miraculously proved to be a match.
Mum-of-one Angie, 39, has now been given a second chance at life after undergoing the transplant operation at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
She paid tribute to her ‘hero’ after he gave her the ‘best present anyone could give’.
Now, he plans to make her his wife.
Angie, a finance assistant of Malvern, Worcs., said: “I don’t know how I am ever going to top it because I owe him my life. It was just the best present anyone could give someone.
“Without him I would have been waiting on the organ donor waiting list for at least six years He has given me a new chance at life and I am forever happily in his debt.”
Steve added: “Since being together, I have watched her struggle every day.
“I needed to do something, I couldn’t see the love of my life this way anymore.
“That’s when I got in contact with the hospital for tests to see if I was a match to give her my kidney.”
He added: “I am so happy now. I look at her and she looks amazing and so healthy. Even the day after the operation, I could see a huge difference in her.
“It’s amazing what you can do to help someone’s life. I feel amazing knowing Angie is back and everything is going like it should post-operation.
“Angie getting a kidney transplant has changed Angela’s future, our children’s future. We’re going to be able to do so much more as a family and as a couple. I can’t wait to see what our future holds.”
Angie was diagnosed with Lupus, where her natural defence system attacks healthy parts of your body, at 19.
She faced rounds of chemo and her kidney was restored to a 50 per cent function. But it steadily declined to just seven per cent last year. Angie and Steve first met at primary school but began dating three years ago.
Dad-of-three Steve, a double glazing fitter, was discharged after two days while Angie spent a week recovering after their three-hour op on Oct 13.
Angie added: “It has already transformed my life. I already feel wonderful.
“Before the op, I was not living, I was just existing. I would go to work and then come home and sleep because I was always so exhausted because that is what the disease does to you.”
Angie is planning to spend the rest of her life with Steve.
She said: “I can finally look forward to the future.
“All I can say is that if anyone is thinking about becoming an organ donor, just do it. It could save a life.”
The Mirror’s Change the Law for Life campaign led to the new opt out law on organ donation in May 2020.
It means adults in England are understood to be organ donors when they die, unless they state otherwise.
Max and Keira’s Law was named after our campaigner Max Johnson, 14, of Winsford, Cheshire, and his donor Keira Ball, aged nine when she died in a tragic car accident near her home in Barnstaple, Devon in 2017.