Transplant patient Shimal Devapura takes up medicine at Queen Mary University after mum donates her kidney

Shimal Devapura and his mum-in-a-million Champika who donated her kidney for his transplant. Family

Shimal Devapura and his mum-in-a-million Champika who donated her kidney for his transplant. Family picture. - Credit: Devapura family

Student Shimal Devapura has a special reason to thank his mum this Mother’s Day—she donated a kidney to give him a future.

He had his transplant after growing up with kidney disease from a baby and has now started studying medicine at Queen Mary University’s Whitechapel campus to “give something back” to society.

The 18-year-old from Stepney Green could have faced a long time on the waiting list for a transplant and would have needed dialysis without Champika Wijayarathe’s organ donation to her son.

“She’s a great mum,” he said. “It’s difficult putting into words how much my mum has done for me. I’ll be buying her a very special present on Mother’s Day.”

He has had kidney failure almost from birth and spent much of his growing-up years at the GP surgery.

“There isn’t a time when I don’t remember going to the doctors,” he recalls.

“I was more tired than most people growing up with kidney failure, but that was normal for me. It was only after the transplant that I realised how much more energy I had.”

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Surgeons at Guy’s and Great Ormond Street hospitals made the transplant possible after overcoming potential rejection of the organ because mother and son have different blood groups.

Shimal was infused with a drug through a drip before his transplant at Great Ormond Street, while Champika’s operation took place at Guy’s the same day.

“Mum was nonchalant and acted like it was an obligation when it really wasn’t,” he added. “She has always worried about me and been there for me when times have been tough.”

Doctors were also there for him in the years of growing up with his condition which influenced him to take up medicine.

“I want to be there for other people like they have been for me,” he tells you.

Champika, at 50, is a mum-in-a-million whose sacrifice is giving her son a healthy future.

She said: “Seeing Shimal so well makes donating my kidney worth it. He has been brave coping with his condition and all the treatments he’s needed while growing up.”

Kidney rejection could have stopped the transplant. Incompatibility affects one-in-three patients on the waiting list.

Researchers at Guy’s are studying several techniques to overcome kidney rejection so that more people can have life-saving transplants like Shimal.