Best man gives kidney to bride

Nadine Bells
Good News
January 3, 2012

Stuart Kilgannon, 39, took his "best man" role seriously. He's giving his friend's bride the gift of life: a new kidney.

Stuart was the best man at Shaun and Leanne Stefanovic's wedding in Cyprus last year. Now, he's going beyond the call of wedding-party duty to ensure his friends have a long and happy marriage by donating his kidney to Leanne.

Leanne suffers from polycystic kidney disease. She's been on dialysis for nine hours a day, dealing with constant fatigue, since experiencing kidney failure in 2007.

When Stuart discovered he was a match for Leanne, he immediately offered his kidney.

"Stuart is putting himself on the surgery table for me. I'm extremely grateful because I could have been waiting another five or ten years," Leanne said.

"Leanne calls me a hero — but I'm not," Stuart insists, who admits he's nervous about the impending pain.

"But to see Leanne's life improve dramatically, it will be worth it 100 per cent."

Leanne and Shaun hope that a new kidney for Leanne, in addition to providing Leanne with freedom from dialysis machines, will help them start a family.

"Having a baby puts strain on a healthy person's kidney, never mind someone whose are in failure," Leanne said.

"There is something missing in our lives. I can't wait to get my freedom back."

Stuart joked, "I have told Leanne and Shaun their first child has to be named Stuart junior."