Christchurch teen's "miracle" kidney transplant

A Christchurch teen who has been on a long journey to find a new kidney has finally received "a miracle."

For 14-year-old Maddie Collins, a shortened life spent hooked up to a dialysis machine was likely to be her future due to a rare kidney disease.

But in a stroke of badly-needed luck, Maddie's mum Sarah received a call from Auckland's Starship Hospital on Tuesday to let her know a kidney was available.

They flew out as soon as they could to get ready for the operation on Wednesday afternoon.

"She burst into tears last night and couldn't stop talking about all the things she could do with a new kidney," says Ms Collins.

Maddie was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease, in 2009. She lost one of her kidneys before her father Adam opted to donate one of his in 2012.

But her body rejected the organ, and her health continued to deteriorate over the years since.

Maddie Collins in Starship Hospital before her kidney transplant on Wednesday.
Maddie Collins in Starship Hospital before her kidney transplant on Wednesday. Photo credit: Supplied

Doctors at Starship had told the family that Maddie had just a four percent chance of finding an exact match for her kidney type in New Zealand, and that they should start thinking about other options.

In late 2017 the family travelled to the United States in search of a kidney, as well as new transplant options.

They raised almost $300,000 through local and nationwide fundraisers, from the Crusaders spreading the word about Maddie's plight to a nation-wide mufti day.

A Christchurch gym ran a 26-hour spin class to raise money for the Collins family, and a documentary was also made about Maddie.

Ms Collins says they didn't expect to find a match in New Zealand.

"Doctors said we needed a miracle...we are absolutely ecstatic," she says.

"Here we were a month ago, about to stop dialysis and thinking about how Maddie's life was numbered."

Maddie Collins in hospital before Wednesday's operation, with brother Tomas (left) and dad Adam.
Maddie Collins in hospital before Wednesday's operation, with brother Tomas (left) and dad Adam. Photo credit: Supplied

The family is no stranger to adversity.

Just last week Maddie and her mother were involved in a car accident, but thankfully walked away unharmed.

The family are also recovering from a devastating blow after a woman offered to donate more than $1 million to pay the cost of Maddie's treatment for kidney failure in the United States. This generous offer turned out to be a cruel hoax.

Ms Collins says despite everything her daughter and family have been through, she's grateful to the family of Maddie's donor for giving her a chance at life.

It will take a week to find out if the kidney transplant has been successful, and Maddie will spend several months recovering in Starship.

Want to know more about organ donation?

Organ Donation NZ

  • 0800 4 DONOR (0800 436 667)

Ministry of Health

  • 0800 LIVE DONOR
  • 0800 5483 3666

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz