Dad donates kidney to his baby girl
WHEN Judy Lonie fell pregnant, she and her husband James Lonie were excited by the thought of welcoming their first child.
But the first 18 months of their daughter Heidi's life have not played out as they expected, with a serious kidney condition keeping her in hospital more than she's been home.
Now James is preparing to make the ultimate act of love - donating a kidney to his baby girl.
Heidi was born four weeks' premature and diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, autosomal recessive.
Her enlarged kidneys were covered in microscopic cysts. The kidneys were getting bigger every day and eventually grew to be larger than a normal adult kidney.
Heidi had both her kidneys removed six weeks ago and the family is waiting for life-changing surgery when James donates one of his kidneys to his baby girl.
The youngster has spent only three weeks at home this year and five months in total since she was born.
Most of her life has been a whirl of hospital and specialists appointments.
James and Judy have committed every minute of their time to helping Heidi, with James working when he can as a bricklayer.
But it's been a tough road.
"Heidi is on dialysis every day for 12 hours," James said.
"She has never eaten before; never had a bottle or anything. She has only ever had a nasal gastric tube using a feeding machine.
"So we always have to keep an eye on her, even when she is sleeping to make sure she doesn't pull the tubes out or anything.
"Because of her kidneys being so big she has never been able to crawl or rollover.
"She's been through so much because of her kidneys and condition. Because her immune system is not the best, we do not have anyone around who is sick and we try not to take her out for too long or too far."
Judy has been staying at Ronald McDonald House while Heidi receives treatment in Brisbane and James makes countless trips to Brisbane to support his girls.
"It is just one battle after another really," he said.
"Heidi has been kept in hospital this week because she needed oxygen."
James will take at least eight weeks off work to donate his kidney to Heidi.
"There was no question in my mind that I was going to do this," he said.
"It will be a big step for us and for Heidi but we still have a long way to go.
"We just want the best for Heidi. We want her to have a normal life like a normal kid."
To help support the family and raise funds for travel, ongoing treatment and Heidi's future needs, a trivia night will be held at the Tewantin Noosa RSL tonight.
Trivia night for Heidi
WHEN: Sunday July 14, 7pm sign-on
WHERE: Tewantin Noosa RSL, Memorial Ave
ENTRY: $10 per person