TWO best pals will pass the ultimate test of friendship on Valentines Day when one donates a kidney to save the other from dying.
Surgeons will remove a healthy kidney from 39-year-old Sharon McMurray and transplant it into Tracey Aspin, her former dance teacher and friend for almost two decades.
The new kidney will give a new lease of life to 52-year-old Tracey, who spends three days a week in hospital having dialysis.
“I should be able to lead a perfectly normal life afterwards, even teaching dancing again. I simply cannot wait,” she told the Citizen.
“What Sharon is doing for me is amazing. How can you begin to find the words to thank a friend who is prepared to give you her kidney?”
Mother-of-three Tracey, who runs Tracey’s Dance Zone school, was diagnosed with immune system disease Lupus after the birth of her first son.
The condition attacked her kidneys and she has taken constant medication for 20 years.
But in 2009 the organs started failing beyond repair and for the past 12 months Tracey has been kept alive by dialysis three times a week at Milton Keynes hospital.
Sharon, who she met as her dance pupil at the age of 11, first stepped in by teaching some of the dance lessons Tracey was too ill to take.
But it was during a weekend away at a national dance congress that she made the supreme gesture of friendship and six months of tests later her she was declared a superb match.
The two operations will take place on Monday morning and the women will convalesce in adjoining rooms.
“We already plan to sit on each other’s beds and have a good gossip,” said Tracey.
Sharon, after a few weeks of rest, should be 100 per cent fit, while Tracey will need to stay in isolation at her Shenley Brook End home for several months. Already the friends are planning a celebratory outing as soon as Tracey is well.
Sharon is now urging others to donate kidneys or sign organ donor forms.
“Humans can live perfectly well with one kidney... I get recovery and rest in bed before carrying on with my usual busy, hectic and healthy life.
“When people ask me why I’m doing this, I answer ‘because I can’.”
* Sharon and her husband Tony are raising money for the Oxford Transplant Foundation through their tearooms. For more details view www.towcestertearooms.co.uk/fundraising