ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

A tutor donated a kidney to a student. Then they fell in love and planned a wedding

Author
Megan Wilson,
Publish Date
Sat, 6 Apr 2024, 9:03am

A tutor donated a kidney to a student. Then they fell in love and planned a wedding

Author
Megan Wilson,
Publish Date
Sat, 6 Apr 2024, 9:03am

Rotorua’s Kylie Wright was in “desperate” need of a kidney transplant when she was a student at Tauranga’s Elite School of Beauty and Spa three years ago. When tutor Madeline Wright learned of Kylie’s need, she told Kylie she wanted to donate a kidney to her. “She was literally dying in front of my eyes,” Madeline says. Then, they fell in love. Megan Wilson tells their story. 

Rotorua woman Madeline Wright remembers turning to her classroom and saying to Kylie: “I’m going to donate my kidney to you”. 

Kylie “burst into tears” and asked Madeline - a single mother with a young daughter - if she was sure. 

“I think it took me a couple of days to really process that someone is willing to put their life on the line to save mine,” Kylie told the Rotorua Daily Post. 

Pair ‘fell in love’ during kidney transplant process 

Madeline discovered Kylie was “desperate” for a donor after reading a news article. 

“I thought about it for quite a while and ... I just thought, ‘I can donate my kidney’. I’m fit, I’m healthy, I don’t need two, two’s a luxury.” 

Madeline started researching how to become a “living” kidney donor. 

She also had to consider her now 10-year-old daughter. “What if she needs a kidney?” 

Madeline Wright (left) donated her kidney to Kylie who had kidney disease.  Photo / Andrew WarnerMadeline Wright (left) donated her kidney to Kylie who had kidney disease. Photo / Andrew Warner 

The pair were not together when Madeline told Kylie she wanted to donate her kidney. 

“It was sort of through all the process of it that we fell in love.” 

Madeline said she had not “come out of the closet” at the time. 

“It was just I had to meet the right person.” 

On the surgery waitlist after six months of testing 

Madeline said to be an eligible donor, the pair had to have the same blood type and antibodies. 

After about six months of testing and a six-hour interview with a psychologist to ensure they were “mentally sound”, the pair was confirmed as compatible. 

Madeline said they were put on the waitlist for surgery at Auckland City Hospital. 

They had two confirmed dates, both of which were cancelled after they got Covid. 

The surgery took place on April 24, 2023. 

Madeline Wright (left) and Kylie Wright are getting married on April 24 - one year since they underwent surgeries for a kidney transplant. Photo / Andrew WarnerMadeline Wright (left) and Kylie Wright are getting married on April 24 - one year since they underwent surgeries for a kidney transplant. Photo / Andrew Warner 

Madeline said her procedure took four hours. Her kidney was then laid to “rest” for an hour before Kylie had her seven-hour surgery. 

Madeline was discharged from hospital within three days. 

“The body’s adjusting to running on the one filter, so for me, I would have extreme bursts of tiredness.” 

Almost a year post-surgery: “I’m back to myself”. 

She monitored her salt intake, didn’t drink alcohol and lived a healthy lifestyle. 

Kidney disease: ‘I couldn’t move ... I couldn’t eat’ 

Kylie’s need for a kidney transplant came after noticing she had “extremely swollen” legs and hands, was tired and had discoloured urine in 2019. 

She saw her GP who referred her to Tauranga Hospital, where she underwent testing. 

Two days later, she met with a kidney renal specialist who diagnosed her with a kidney disease called IgA nephropathy. In a healthy person, the antibody IgA helps fight infection but Kylie’s IgA attacks her kidneys. 

Her option was chemotherapy or “they’re not going to last”, she was told. 

She initially had six rounds of chemotherapy which “didn’t work” and was prescribed medication. 

Kylie’s condition meant she had to give “everything” up, including her beauty therapist diploma. 

In 2021: “I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t move ... I couldn’t eat”. 

She was rushed to Waikato Hospital and put on dialysis. 

Kylie and her son - who were living in Tauranga - then moved to Rotorua to live with Madeline and her daughter. 

She underwent dialysis for about 18 months before the transplant. 

“Madeline’s an absolute angel. She actually saved my life in more ways than one.” 

Kylie said she would still be on dialysis if she did not get the transplant and would have had to wait until there was a deceased donor. 

Her recovery had been a “rollercoaster” and she sometimes suffered from tiredness and nausea. 

Kylie had weekly blood and urine tests to ensure her kidney was functioning properly. 

She also returned to her studies and gained a level 5 diploma in beauty and spa therapy. The couple run a business in Rotorua. 

Her message was: “Stay humble, be kind, you never know what someone is going through.” 

Madeline and Kylie are getting married on April 24, marking the first anniversary of the transplant. 

“We decided to tie the knot because we have two beautiful children together and we’ve decided to come together as a tight-knit family,” Madeline said. 

“We can’t wait for the day.” 

The couple is planning to go overseas for their honeymoon with their children, potentially at the end of the year. 

Megan Wilson is a health and general news reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post. She has been a journalist since 2021. 

This article was originally published on NZ Herald here. 

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you