Parents Joety and Amrik Kandola had been appealing for a kidney donor to save their daughter’s life who was diagnosed with ARPKD (Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease).
Anaya was born with an abnormal liver and two enlarged polycystic kidneys which led to her lungs being underdeveloped and her left side of her heart to be muscular known as HCM due to high blood pressure. Her kidneys were removed soon after birth and she was put on dialysis which means she is dependent on a machine to clean her bloods.
Her only chance of survival is a kidney transplant.
The couple’s Facebook plea was answered by NHS worker Surinder Sapal, last year offering to donate one of her organs to the two-year-old.
Tests showed the mum of two was a tissue match for Anaya and nine months later the kidney transplant took place, pulling the toddler back from the brink and a life on dialysis.
She is now thriving.
Amrik, 33, said: “They say super-heroes are unreal, but I think we have a real-life super-hero here. Surinder is a dream come true to us.”
Joety, 34, added: “If she did not have this transplant, I don’t think she would have made it. Time was running out. She didn’t have any energy, wasn’t sleeping, she couldn’t walk, constantly vomiting.
“For Surinder to come into our lives and share her kidney was phenomenal. Anaya is our little miracle.”
Surinder, 36, who has daughters, Gurleen 10 and Hargun, six, said: “I saw this mum pleading for a kidney for her baby.
“I felt, ‘What if it was my child and I was unable to help?’ Anaya’s family described me as a super-hero, but I just see it as one mother helping another.”
Amrik and Joety, of Newcastle, had begged people to be donors and Surinder was one of 34 who offered to help.
She had tests in January and was found to be a one in 100,000 matches.
The couple had been ruled out as a match for their daughter because her tissue type had changed after having frequent transfusions.
Surinder, a radiographer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, had her operation at the Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital while Anaya underwent hers at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in the city.
Amrik and Joety were not told her name until later.
Surinder, of Wakefield, West Yorks, said: “The renal co-ordinator said they had a card from Anaya’s mum thanking me and she had written her mobile number on it. I was kind of excited to speak to her.
“It was an hour of Anaya’s mum saying thank you and me saying, ‘I’d just done what any mother would do.” Surinder was invited to Newcastle to meet the family four weeks later.
She said: “It was amazing seeing this person with a piece of me inside her thriving. They told me I am part of their family. I class her as a third daughter.”
Takeaway business owner Amrik added: “Surinder is credit to her family, Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust and to the Sikh community.”
Surinder urged more people to become live donors. She said: “It feels amazing to give someone the gift of life.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust consultant renal transplant physician Dr Sunil Daga added: “Surinder’s act of selflessness has not only given a gift of life to Anaya but also to her family and will have a far-reaching positive effect.”
For more details, go to NHS Blood and Transplant website; organdonation.nhs.uk