The precious gift of life

The generosity and love from Faye Hawkins parents’ is remarkable. Her mum and dad have each donated their kidneys to save her life.

Most parents would do anything to keep their child healthy; but two parents from Wodonga, on the New South Wales-Victorian border, have made an extraordinary sacrifice to help their daughter Faye. Rose and her husband Barry Hawkins have each gone under the knife to donate a kidney to their daughter so that she is able  to enjoy a  healthier and happier life.
Faye Hawkins was born with 1/8 of a kidney. She suffers from a rare disease, Branchiootorenal syndrome, which has also affected her hearing and speech.
When Faye was just 3, 23 years ago now, her father Barry underwent a kidney transplant operation to save his little girls life.

But last year, two decades on, the kidney she received from her dad was failing, and Faye was in need of another transplant. This time it was her mum who helped. 

“You don’t give it a second thought. You think I can help her out and give her a few more years,” said Rose Hawkins.
Picture of family in hospital after organ donation
Rose underwent surgery in November last year. When she woke up her kidney was living inside her 26-year-old daughter Faye. 

After emerging from surgery, they shared a hospital room to recover and moments they’ll never forget.

“She said, thank you mum. I love you.” 

“For her to say that, it was really, really special. She really knew what I had done for her, and what a change it was for her, because she felt so much better,” said Rose.

When Faye’s father Barry underwent his transplant operation two decades ago, the procedure was a lot more invasive. 

“He has a big scar across his front and back, it was a big operation back then, mine was keyhole surgery.” said Rose.

Rose was unable to donate a kidney to Faye when she was a toddler because her blood type was different. Thanks to advances in medical science, it’s now possible and Rose embraced the opportunity.

“I’m hoping she gets a good run and when that time comes, as the kidneys don’t last forever, that the technology will be that much better so she doesn’t have to go through more transplants down the track,” said Rose.
It’s been eight months since the surgery, and both Rose and Faye are feeling great.

Faye no longer has to endure daily dialysis, and is living a near normal life.
Rose says she feels no different functioning with just one kidney.
“I feel great. I don’t feel like I’ve had anything done. I’m probably going to the toilet at night a little more often, but otherwise nothing has changed.”

Australia is a world leader for successful transplant outcomes, but there are still about 1,600 people on the waiting lists at any one time. One organ and tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people.
The Hawkins family want people to consider donating their organs, and encourage others to have an open discussion with those they love about their wishes. We’d also love you to share your stories of similar acts of kindness with us on our facebook page. #SharingHappiness.
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