A man who was three hours away from his death after suffering life-threatening kidney failure was saved by his wife after she donated her kidney to him on his 50th birthday.

Business manager Stephen Kelsey suffered from rare autoimmune disease ANCA vasculitis, which causes the body to attack its essential organs, after being diagnosed in October 2018.

Stephen’s life revolved around four-hour dialysis sessions three times a week while he waited to receive a new kidney from a deceased owner.

However, he ended up getting the new organ in just eight months thanks to his retail manager wife Tracey, 45, who found out she was a suitable match for her husband on his 50th birthday.

Stephen said: “There were times I wished I was dead. So, when Tracy said she was a match on my 50th birthday, I just broke down in tears.”

He underwent a nine-hour operation at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield on February 20 and is now recovering at home with his wife in Rotherham, South Yorks.

Reflecting on his plight, Stephen added: "The operation was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was absolutely mortified because I was putting somebody who I love in harm's way.

"It costs £110,000 a year to keep somebody on dialysis.

"Transplants not only transform lives, but they're also very cost-effective."

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Tracy said: "It was my birthday present for him.

"I was a registered organ donor for years, but to be able to help somebody you love while you're alive is even better.

"The decision to get tested and see if I was a match was instinctive."

With Stephen’s kidney function already on the up, the couple are now planning to act as kidney ambassadors for the Northern General Hospital, helping other people about to undergo kidney transplants prepare for the operation.

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