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Former MLA "proud and honoured" to have been able to donate kidney to her son

Former Ulster Unionist assembly member, Jo-Anne Dobson pictured with her son, Mark and Tim Brown, Northern Ireland Consultant Transplant surgeon
Marie Louise McConville

A FORMER Ulster Unionist assembly member has said she feels "proud and honoured" to have become a living donor this week, after donating a kidney to her 24 year-old son.

Mark Dobson described his mother Jo-Anne Dobson, a former Upper Bann MLA, as "the best mother for giving me her kidney and for actually giving me my life back".

Mother and son underwent separate operations at Belfast City Hospital on Tuesday.

Ms Dobson (52) underwent surgery with Northern Ireland transplant surgeon Tim Brown at 8.30am and four hours later her son Mark received his new kidney.

It is the second time Mark has undergone transplant surgery having previously had surgery in 2009.

Mr Brown, who has carried out hundreds of transplants during his career, said both surgeries had gone well.

"It's early days but I'm very pleased to say that, to date, everything has gone according to plan," he said.

On Tuesday, Ms Dobson became the 11th living donor at Belfast City Hospital this year while her son became the 24th transplant recipient.

Speaking after the operations, Ms Dobson said she felt "proud and honoured to have been able to donate my kidney to Mark".

"He told me the night before the surgery that it felt like Christmas Eve. I gave him life when I gave birth to him almost 25 years ago and it was so special to have done it again."

The former assembly member said she and Mark "hugged and cried" when they were reunited after their surgeries.

"I can't thank Tim enough for what he has done. Mark calls him our superhero," she said.

"A couple of the other patients clapped when I walked past them after surgery but I'm just an ordinary person and it's people like Tim who perform miracles like this every day."

Mark said he feels like "a new man".

"She's the best mother for giving me her kidney and for actually giving me my life back," he said.

"She was really brave and I know I'm never really going to be able to repay her for this. I'm so happy I'm getting my life back".

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