UK
25/07/2013 17:53 BST | Updated 25/07/2013 17:58 BST

Kidney Donation Rekindles Love Affair For Couple Who Split 20 Years Ago

A couple who split 20 years ago have rekindled their romance – after he donated her a kidney.

Gordon Henry, 53, and Jo Macfarlane, 44, separated in 1993 but are now in love again following his life-saving gift.

Macfarlane suffers from a chronic kidney condition and was badly in need of a donor when her ex heard about her plight.

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Reunited: Gordon Henry and Jo Macfarlane

When doctors discovered Henry was a perfect match he promptly offered up his organ and once he was found to be a match, the procedure went ahead.

The former couple woke up in adjoining beds in hospital - where nurses told Macfarlane they thought Henry secretly wanted her back.

And since the life-changing operation, love has blossomed and they are now together again.

Macfarlane, of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said the couple split 20 years ago, after the birth of their son, Jordan.

She said: "It got to the point where I did desperately need a new kidney. My son said he wanted to help - then his father got wind of that and he came forward as a donor.

"He did it after all this distance between us for years. He risked his life to do it for me and Jordan.

"At first, I didn't think he would go through with it, but he went through all the tests and when he was nursing his own mother and having a tough time himself.

"He didn’t look back. It was very strange. Everyone was saying he wanted to get back with me, even the nurses at the hospital, and I completely dismissed it.

"I’ve heard of couples getting back together after years of separation but not this way. We’ve put everything that happened in the past behind us."

Macfarlane had her first transplant using a kidney donated by her older sister Amanda Pilgrim in 1988 at the age of 19.

But in 2004 she moved from her home in Reading, Berkshire, to be nearer her sister in Sheffield when she began having symptoms again and spent five years having dialysis while waiting for an organ.

She underwent five gruelling years of dialysis until Henry, who still lives in Reading, donated his kidney to her in 2009 at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

Henry said: "Giving Jo a kidney was a chance to repay her for all she’s done for our son, she's brought him up all these years.

"One of the strangest things about it was we had been apart for so long, but it definitely felt like the right thing to do.

"I was over the moon I was able to help. I hadn’t any intention of us getting back together, that wasn’t the reason for doing it, but it is a fantastic ending."