A HUGELY courageous Troon mum-of-three has been given the gift of a life-saving second kidney transplant.

Now Louise Gillespie (37) admits feeling better than she has ever been following the critical surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

She said: “When I went to see the doctors I said I was feeling really tired back in 2012.

They thought it was an over-active thyroid. They missed my bloods in the February. In May I had my blood taken and was told my kidneys were only functioning at 20 per cent.

“In July 2013 I did Tough Mudder still thinking there was nothing wrong with me. But by that December I was on emergency dialysis. I then got the call for the transplant in September 2013.

“They told me I had a BK virus and said then the kidney would only last a year but I got six years out of it but I was functioning at a low rate of 19 per cent. For the last seven years my life has been on hold. I started doing dialysis last November for nine hours a day. Then on October 7 I got the call, had the transplant, the kidney was working. But on my right side I had a burny pain and I went back up to the ward. From 11am until 5pm I was tried for every painkiller but nothing worked. It turned out my old transplanted kidney was failing. They didn’t want to do surgery as it was only six days since the operation. They offered me an epidural but I said no because if I had I wouldn’t be here as that would have numbed everything. The surgeon took two hours to get the kidney out.

When he got it out, it fell apart in his hands so if I had the epidural the kidney would have dissolved in my body, caused sepsis and I wouldn’t have been here. The hospital told me my life expectancy had I not got the call would have been another five years. When I started dialysis my life expectancy was four per cent. My function is at 67 per cent, which it hasn’t been in eight years. Everyone has been so supportive including my husband Brian.

"My mum, dad, brother and sister visited me every day and night and have run me everywhere, looked after the kids and taken them to school etc. They really looked after me. I owe them all everything.

"Thanks also to everyone at the hospital for all they did.”

Louise, co-owner of the Fit Pit gym in Troon, will pay tribute to her donor. She said: “I’m going to do the Transplant Olympics in memory of my donor in 2021.”

The mother has three children Jenna (17) Jamie (10) and Jack, who turns two in March.

Now she is looking forward to the festive season. Louise added: “It should be a really good Christmas as I’m better than ever. Last year I had to go to bed for four hours after the meal. Now I should really enjoy it. I’m talking to Brian and the other coaches about my plans to improve the gym.”