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07th Jan 2023

Teen got new kidney after his mum gave hers to a stranger whose family gave one back in return

Steve Hopkins

Dan was on a scholarship with Hull City when he received the crushing diagnosis

A teenager got a new kidney when his mum swapped hers with a stranger – whose family gave one back to her son in return.

Dan Hogben was ready to take on a two-year scholarship with Hull City when he received a crushing diagnosis of chronic kidney disease at just 16.

His kidney function fell to 13 per cent and he gave up the game because he could not keep up with the pressures of professional football.

Dan was offered a second chance through an organ-sharing scheme, where his mum, Alison, 51, donated a kidney to another person in return for one from the same family, for Dan.

The lad, who is now 19 and has recovered from the operation, will put his sporting knowledge to use as a referee – while helping others struggling with their diagnosis.

“I want to create positivity for other people who’ve recently been diagnosed and are just at the start of their journey of having kidney disease,” Dan explained.

“When I first found out, all the positives in my life suddenly stopped. At that stage the future is uncertain, and you can’t imagine getting your life back to what it was.

“The demands and pressures of being in the academy gave me the mental strength to be as positive as I am and have always been.

“That’s why I feel I can try pass on that positivity to people who are struggling mentally going with their kidney disease diagnosis.”

Dan was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2019 and was then put on a constant diet of medication as his condition worsened over time, eventually forcing him to give up football.

“I’d been playing football since I was about six or seven, then at 11 I got into Hull City.

“I don’t think the full implications of leaving hit me straight away as my focus switched from the pressure of the academy environment to understanding my diagnosis and what this meant for me.

“It wasn’t until a year or two after leaving Hull that I realised just how much I was missing it.”

Doctors told Dan he would need a transplant, but this procedure came with complications.

He was a positive match with his mum, but because doctors were uncertain what caused his disease decided it was safer for him to go into a kidney share scheme.

This allowed Alison to donate a kidney to another patient and in return, Dan received a donation from someone else – with two patients getting a new lease of life at once.

“I was extremely lucky that I didn’t have to go on dialysis as the changes to my diet and medication kept me feeling ok,” Dan said.

“The plan was to leave it as long as possible to give me a transplant because the kidney only lasts a certain amount of time.

“The operation was more painful than I expected because I had a big bleed afterwards.

“But I was out of hospital after five days and mum came out after two. But I think she was hurting for a bit longer than me in the end. Now, I feel perfectly back to normal.”

Hull City have been very supportive of Dan’s condition, allowing him to take his FA refereeing course at the academy he used to train at.

Dan will also be given the opportunity to officiate some of the younger teams while he develops his refereeing skills.

Inspired by people like footballer Andy Cole who has also had a kidney transplant, Dan is keen to raise money for the charity Kidney Research UK.

His efforts will help fund research into better understanding the causes of kidney disease and to help improve transplants for future generations.

Sandra Currie, chief executive at Kidney Research UK said: “Dan’s inspirational story is a real example of how a devastating situation can be turned into something so positive.

“With the support of people like Dan, our research will help people like him and future generations to live a better life with kidney disease and pursue their dreams with confidence.”

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