A SIX-year-old girl, who has undergone 38 operations after developing a rare kidney disorder, has been given the ‘gift of life’ by her grandma.

Ella Chadwick, from Rossendale, has received a kidney from 59-year-old Christina Chadwick after she was found to be a match.

The youngster has battled congenital nephrotic syndrome since she was a baby.

It is caused by a inherited faulty gene which causes large amounts of protein to leak into her urine.

This causes swelling of the body and greater chance of catching infections.

She had to have both her kidneys removed and has undergone 38 operations, including a kidney transplant in 2010 from her dad Martin but her body rejected it a few hours later.

Last Wednesday she underwent a operation at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. Christina had her kidney removed at Guy’s Hospital in Southwark, which was then transported with a police escort to Great Ormond Street.

Both Ella and her grandma are now making good progress.

Chorley Citizen:

Ella's mum Karen Hughes, 32, said she is eternally grateful to Christina.

She said: “We are all happy and I feel like I should be screaming from the roof tops, but I don’t want to jinx it or speak too soon.

“She’s so brave. Initially after the operation, she had to be rushed back into theatre, so she spent almost 14 hours in surgery that day. We were so anxious. It felt like such a long time.

“She was out of intensive care the following day, and is happy and doing well now, so so far, so good.

”Christina has done something so amazing giving Ella her kidney. It’s a long and painful operation and she’s given Ella the gift of life.

"I’m a match too, but we’ve thought it was best if I was with Ella both times.

“But transplants don’t last forever, so if she needs another one when she’s older, then I’ll be able to give her one of mine.”

Christina, who is now recoving at home in Rochdale, said: "It’s been a long process to get here but I’m glad I’ve done it.

“More than a year ago we were told that Karen and Martin should be thinking about hospice care for Ella as they couldn’t do any more operations.

“But then a doctor at Manchester Children’s Hospital said they should get in touch with Great Ormond Street and they did.

“Then the hospital were asking for live donors who might be a match, and I asked if I could give blood to see if I would be.

“I thought I would be too old, but I was a match.

“I was anxious when I thought we were first going into surgery, but then it got delayed because Ella had a seizure, and then they thought she had a blood clot, which turned out to be something less serious.

“So when it finally came to it, I just didn’t believe it would happen, then I knew it would and I just hoped everything would go well.

“I was out of hospital in four days, and I have had some pain and sickness, but the main thing is that everything seems to have gone well with Ella.

“I would encourage anyone with a family member in need of a transplant to do what I did.”

The family now face a further anxious wait and a long stay in London while Ella’s progress is monitored. It will take several months before they know for sure if the transplant was a success.

Though in pain following the surgery, Ella, a pupil at Tonacliffe Primary School pupil, Whitworth, has shown daily improvements, and has even made some pizzas with a play specialist in the hospital.

Miss Hughes, of Tonnacliffe Way, said: “It’s hard to find words for our emotions, but we are so proud of Ella. She’s such a brave and strong little girl.”