GIVING BACK: Jo Lee and mum Jenny Studt continue to support each other amid their respective health woes.
GIVING BACK: Jo Lee and mum Jenny Studt continue to support each other amid their respective health woes.

Mother-daughter duo’s stength amid illnesses

LIKE most parents Jenny Studt would give anything to make sure her child lives a happy and healthy life.

And that was exactly what the Rockhampton woman did after selflessly donating her kidney to daughter Jo Lee, 33, almost two decades ago.

At just 10 weeks old Mrs Studt learned of her newborn’s renal failure which resulted in the infant being admitted to hospital up to 20 times before her second birthday.

“The doctors couldn’t really say what caused it, just that she might need a transplant when she got in her early teens,” Mrs Studt said.

When Ms Lee turned 14 her health had deteriorated so drastically that the hunt for a suitable donor began.

“I was a really good match luckily, so she didn’t have to go on dialysis, and they did a pre-emptive transplant,” Mrs Studt said.

“Jo still kept getting really sick and was admitted again a few times. They did more testing and eventually found out she had this really rare genetic disorder which was the cause of everything.”

The young girl was diagnosed with methylmalonic acidemia, an inherited condition in which the body is unable to break down certain fats and proteins.

“My gut feeling was that there was always something wrong. In the early days, because we didn’t have a fixed diagnosis, it was just the unknown which was terrible.”

Ms Lee was subjected to a life of hospital visits – with mum’s support – including treatments as doctors monitored her anti-rejection medications.

In an unfortunate turn of fate, it is now Ms Lee holding her mother’s hand as the 64 year old recovers from a battle with throat cancer.

“I had to go to Brisbane for seven weeks to have radiation and chemo therapy because they couldn’t do it here,” Mrs Studt said.

Ms Lee and her stepfather remained behind in Rockhampton due to work commitments, however that did little to slow the devoted daughter’s support.

“She would contact me every day, send me flowers. She always comes around to check in on how I’m doing too since I got home.”

Fortunately, she has been given the all clear after her last scan revealed the growth’s disappearance.

The Rockhampton Base Hospital Nurse hopes to return back to work early June.

While Ms Lee hoped to spoil her mum this Mother’s Day, all Mrs Studt wishes for is to be spoiled in love and affection from her two children.

The duo hopes their story will inspire others to register for organ donation at donatelife.gov.au.



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