Stoke-on-Trent man in adoption hopes after transplant

Steven Grattage with Amy
Image caption Steven Grattage has cared for Amy since she was two

Former pottery worker Steven Grattage has had kidney dialysis three times a week for the past six years.

But now a milestone operation at a Coventry hospital "will transform" his life - and, he hopes, help him to adopt a girl he has fostered since she was two.

The 43-year-old has become the 100th kidney transplant patient who has had their blood washed clean of antibodies at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust.

The hospital, which carries out a so-called Antibody Incompatible transplant, uses a technique that washes away antibodies in the blood that attack a donated organ.

It has given people "who were previously thought untransplantable the chance of a transformed life", the hospital added.

All four of Mr Grattage's siblings offered to donate their kidney.

'No problem'

It was sister Susan who was found to be suitable - and the transplant was her first ever operation.

Now Mr Grattage, from Stoke-on-Trent, hopes that along with wife Tracy, they will be able to adopt nine-year-old Amy.

He said: "We have to go to a panel of people (through Staffordshire County Council).

"Just before I had my transplant, they sent a letter to my doctor wanting to know where I was with my transplant.

Image caption Steven Grattage's sister, Susan, described the transplant as "life changing" for him

"We knew she was going to stop with us whether she'd be fostered or adopted.

"But now I've had the transplant everything should go ahead, no problem."

The hospital said he was first diagnosed with kidney failure in 1990 and spent the next six years on a "gruelling treatment regime" until 1996, when he received his first kidney transplant from a deceased donor.

But nine years later the kidney failed and after a period of a life-threatening illness, he returned to kidney dialysis three times a week.

In November 2010 he was referred to University Hospital in Coventry where he began preparation for the transplant, which happened on 27 May after seven sessions of blood washing.

Mr Grattage, who is now back at home, said: "I feel better. I'm getting my colour back.

"I am looking forward to having more energy and not having to go on a dialysis machine three times a week for four hours each time.

"I want to get on with life and have the things that can be taken for granted, being a fun dad, going back to work and going on holiday are on top of my priority list."

Mr Grattage had a figure casting role at pottery firm Royal Doulton and later produced airbags for vehicles before he left that job in 2005.

"Doctors said I should take things easy for the first six months and take it from there.

"I'm still having regular visits to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire twice a week.

"I've been off work for six years, coming up to seven in January. Hopefully by January I'll be back if there's any jobs available."

His sister said: "When I found that this was possible in Coventry I jumped at the chance.

"All I will have are a few tiny scars on my abdomen but for Steven this is life changing."

Mr Grattage, who is father to 23-year-old Carly, said a panel date had not been finalised, but it would be "absolutely fantastic" if Amy was adopted.

He added: "Now I've had the transplant, it makes it easier when it comes to the panel because my social worker can say 'it makes it easier for him because he's getting his health back in order'."

"It (would) make her more secure. It would be brilliant."

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