Burnley teaching assistant on crusade to increase number of living organ donors after donating 70 per cent of her liver to her brother in law

A Burnley teaching assistant is on a crusade to encourage more people to become living organ donors.

Hayley Basterfield wants to raise awareness of the scheme after she herself donated 70 per cent of her liver to her brother-in-law, Lee Lewis, after he was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. Known as PSC, it is a condition which means Lee’s bile ducts were narrowing, and bile was staying inside his liver, causing damage.

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Thirty-one-year-old Hayley said: "So many people don't realise that you can be a living organ donor.

Hayley Basterfield donated 70 per cent of her liver to her brother in law Lee Lewis. Now she is on a mission to encourage more people to become living organ donors.

"I didn't realise until we found out about Lee's condition and how he could be helped."

Hayley put herself forward as a donor after doctors told Lee, who is married to Hayley's sister Zoe, he would need a liver transplant after a couple of years of undergoing procedures to help drainage of the bile. But they also said that, as he was considered 'well' he would have to find a live donor.

Living donor liver transplantation has been successfully performed in the UK since 1995.

Hayley, who works at Christ the King Primary School, said: "I remember clearly the day Zoe told me about living donation, we were having coffee at a garden centre

Hayley Basterfield (left) with brother in law Lee Lewis, who she donated 70 per cent of her liver to, and his wife Zoe, who is Hayley's sister

" I said I never knew you could donate part of your liver although I knew you could donate a kidney."

Hayley, who is mum to Ella Rose (six), decided to do her own research to find out what was involved and she got in touch with St James Hospital in Leeds, one of only three hospitals in the UK that conducts the operations, to put her name forward to become a donor.

The process was delayed as Hayley got married to husband Dale in December, 2018, and there was a further six month delay when it was discovered she had an under active thyroid. Then the pandemic hit and everything went on hold.

Due to go ahead in December, 2021, the surgery was put back to January and then the surgical team had to stop halfway through because they thought Hayley's liver was too small, a very rare occurrence.

The surgery was called off a further four times to make way for other transplants and eventually went ahead in April.

Hayley said: "It has been an absolute rollercoaster of a journey but so worth it and I would do it all again. It was the best decision I ever made.

"Lee is healthy and living a normal life and we are making plans for the future as a family."

Around 900 people in the UK undergo liver transplantation every year. At the end of each year around 600 people with liver disease on the UK transplant list are not transplanted and are still waiting for a liver – and the numbers are growing.

Fifteen to twenty percent of patients on the transplant list die or are removed each year whilst waiting for an organ.

For more information about becoming a living donor go to https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/become-a-living-donor/